Latin American Environmental Regulatory Tracker

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HIGHLIGHTS

This month’s tracker reflects key initiatives from August 15, 2015 – September 15, 2015.

As we move towards the Paris Agreement, many Latin American countries are developing climate change commitments and action plans, including the following from this last month:

  • Colombia was the first South American country to adopt binding GHG reductions;
  • Costa Rica adopted a National Action Plan for Climate Change;
  • Chile has launched a carbon market project; and
  • Mexico has continued to flesh out its GHG regulatory regime.

The pace of climate change activity in Latin America will likely continue -- it is a tangible issue of significant political concern throughout the region. Once in place, climate change commitments will likely be a key driver for new laws requiring reporting of GHG emissions, increased investment and use of renewables, and new energy efficiency standards for products.

We welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions.

¡Gracias!

Maddie Kadas , Latin American Environmental Practice Leader 

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ARGENTINA

Proposed Bill Would Establish Rights of Nature Itself

Under Senate Bill No. 2506/15, Nature would have the right to: life, diversity of life, water, clean air, ecological equilibrium, restoration, and to be free from contamination and commercialization.

Online Tool for the Management of Municipal Solid Waste Launched

The Environment Secretariat has launched an online tool intended to facilitate information sharing among waste management stakeholders. Gathered data will contribute to the development of the country’s first waste map, which will improve decision making at the local level and promote efficiency in the distribution of resources.

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BRAZIL

New ABNT Standards Released

The following are available for purchase from the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT):

Government-Industry Partnership to Promote Sustainability in Packaging Sector

São Paulo's environmental agency (CETESB) and the Brazilian Packaging Association (ABRE) have signed a two-year memorandum of understanding for technical and scientific cooperation aimed at identifying and disseminating appropriate environmental practices for the packaging industry. There is an expectation that the memorandum will result in the development of criteria for evaluating the environmental performance of non-durable consumer goods packaging in the first half of 2016, along with case studies that illustrate the success of the criteria.

Bill Establishing Noise Pollution as an Environmental Crime Approved

The Urban Development Committee in the Chamber of Deputies has approved Bill No. 1073/15 , which amends the Environmental Crimes Law (No. 9.605/98), outlining administrative penalties for noise pollution that would include: a warning, suspension of activities, fines, and equipment seizure.

Bill Establishing Ecolabel for Amazon Region Products Approved

The Committee for National Integration, Regional Development, and the Amazon in the Chamber of Deputies has approved Bill No. 5760/13 to establish the "Green Seal for Amazon Preservation." If enacted into law, the Seal would be awarded by the environmental agencies that collectively comprise Brazil's National Environment System (SISNAMA) to environmentally friendly products derived from the Legal Amazon Region.

Bill Establishing National Landfill Fund Approved

The Social Affairs Committee in the Senate has approved Bill No. 207/12 to establish the National Landfill Fund, which, if enacted into law, would finance up to 70% of a landfill project that met the requirements under Law 12.305/10, the National Policy on Solid Waste. Financed by the National Treasury or by donations, the Fund would have a ten-year term; and its resources would be used for technical feasibility and environmental impact studies, implementing environmental protection measures, and carrying out training for garbage collectors, among other uses.

Number of Rehabilitated Areas in São Paulo Increases 

According to the state environmental agency’s (CESTSB) most recent  List of Contaminated and Rehabilitated Areas in the State of São Paulo , 34% of 5,148 contaminated areas have been classified as rehabilitated (563) or are in the process of being monitored to confirm their rehabilitated status (1,204). This represents a 33% increase from the previous year.  74% (3,825) of all contaminated sites stem from fossil fuel activities, 17% (862) from industrial activities, 5% (263) from commercial activities, and 3% (151) from waste disposal activities.

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CHILE

Bill Establishing Sanctions for the Transport and Disposal of Waste to Illegal Dumping Sites Approved

The Chilean Chamber of Deputies and the Senate have approved Boletín 7908 to amend the Traffic Law (No. 18.290) to include sanctions for the transport and disposal of waste to illegal dumping sites. If signed into law, any person who orders the unlawful transport or disposal of waste would be subject to fines of up to 100 monthly tax units, or approximately $6,500.

Odor Pollution Bill Proposed

Boletín 10268, a proposal originating in the Chamber of Deputies, would amend Law No. 19.300, General Bases of the Environment, to recognize odor as a pollutant.

Light Pollution Protocol for Electrical Products Approved 

The Superintendency of Environment (SMA) has approved the “Protocol of analysis and testing for electrical products to determine compliance with DS No. 43/12 MMA, protection from light pollution." The Protocol would apply to laboratories approved by the Superintendency of Electricity and Fuels (SEC); and to manufacturers, distributors, and owners of installations utilizing incandescent filament lamps, high intensity discharge lamps, and solid state lamps (LED) in the regions of Antofagasta, Atacama, and Coquimbo.  

Ministries of Environment and Energy Launch Project to Prepare Carbon Market

The Chilean Technical Cooperation Project aims to provide technical assistance to explore, develop, and pilot alternative carbon price instruments in Chile that complement the country’s current carbon tax regulation. The Project is financed by the World Bank and administered by the Chilean Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AGCID).

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COLOMBIA

Colombia Becomes First Country in South America to Make Official Climate Change Commitment

In anticipation of COP21, Colombia officially pledges to reduce its emissions by 20% by 2030, based on 2010 levels.  

Energy Efficiency Labeling Technical Regulation Implemented

The Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy (MINMINAS) has announced the implementation of the Technical Regulation for Labeling Electrical and Fuel Gas Equipment (RETIQ), which establishes technical standards for labeling, testing, and certifying a range of electronic goods, including electromagnetic and electronic lighting ballasts. All covered products, both domestic and imported, must comply with RETIQ by August 31, 2016.

Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Bill Proposed

Among its key provisions, Senate Bill No. 058/15 outlines climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies for key economic sectors, modifies the function of the National Environment Council, establishes a climate change adaptation and mitigation fund, and creates the State Registry of Emissions.

Used Oil Disposal Bill Proposed

Chamber of Deputies Bill No. 091/15 establishes conditions for the safe disposal of used lubricating oils, industrial oils, and frying oils used in Colombia and prohibits the combustion of these oils, and their partial or total reutilization without treatment.

Ministry of Housing Proposes Draft Decree to Formalize Trade of Recyclers

The Draft Decree would regulate provisions under the National Development Plan 2014-2018 pertaining to the operating activity and obligations of professional recyclers.  

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COSTA RICA

National Action Plan on Climate Change Formalized

Through Decree No. 39114-MINAE , the Plan establishes guidelines for the agriculture, energy, transport, and water resource sectors to implement actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The country has the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2021.

Hazardous Waste Management System (SIGREP) Launched

Costa Rica's Ministries of Environment and Health have announced the launch of the Hazardous Waste Management System (SIGREP), a new online tool to monitor and control hazardous waste generation and transit throughout the country.  Generators, managers, and/or transporters of hazardous waste in Costa Rica must register under SIGREP by October 1, 2015.

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MEXICO

General Waste Law Reforms Would Strengthen Waste Separation

A draft decree to reform the General Waste Law has been proposed in the Senate to strengthen Mexico's regulatory framework on the primary separation of urban solid waste. Under the Proposal, federal entities and municipalities would be charged with devising policies and promoting activities to encourage the primary separation of waste.

Mexico Responds to Comments on Draft Standard for Management of Residues in Hazardous Waste Transport Units

The Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) has published its responses to comments received on draft standard PROY-NOM-019-SCT2-2014, "Technical Specifications and General Provisions for Cleaning and Controlling Substance Residues and Hazardous Waste in Units that Transport Materials and Hazardous Waste." PROY-NOM-019 would apply to all shippers, motor carriers, and cleaning centers that utilize vehicles to transport substances, materials, and hazardous waste.

Senators Urge Stronger Action on Management of Cells and Batteries

Senators from the Parliamentary Group of the Institutional Revolutionary Party have published a proposal urging the Secretariat of Environment (SEMARNAT) to coordinate with federal entities and municipalities to strengthen actions for the integral management of cells and batteries. The proposal also encourages SEMARNAT to conduct public awareness campaigns on the proper disposal of these products and the risks they pose to human health and the environment.

Methodology to Measure Direct Carbon Dioxide Emissions Established

Under a Secretariat of Environment (SEMARNAT) Agreement, reporting facilities must use this methodology when: (i) it is not technically feasible to apply the methodologies under Article 7 of the Regulation to the General Climate Change Law; (ii) it is not technically feasible to determine the carbon content in the materials or substances used as fuels; or (iii) the standard deviation of the carbon content is greater than 10%. The Agreement enters into force five months after its publication in the Official Gazette.

Methodologies to Calculate GHG Emissions and Compounds Established

These methodologies apply, as technically appropriate, to sectors, subsectors, and activities under Articles 4, 5, and 7 of the Regulation to the General Climate Change Law. The Agreement would enter into force following its publication in the Official Gazette.

Nearly 80% of All Environmental Complaints Addressed by the Attorney General for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA)

From September 2014-June 2015, PROFEPA addressed 5,746 public complaints received through its online environmental complaints system, of which 6% pertained to hazardous waste contamination. 

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PERU

Peru Will Conduct Its First Environmental Performance Evaluation Through OECD Country Programme

Adhering to criteria established by the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Peru’s Ministry of Environment (MINAM) will gather environmental performance data from 2003-2013 and devise recommendations for improvement.  The Evaluation demonstrates Peru’s continued commitment to adopting OECD instruments and illustrates the country’s willingness and ability to achieve high standards in its public policies.

Madeleine Boyer Kadas

Principal

+1.512.391.8010
mkadas@bdlaw.com

Paul E. Hagen

Principal

+1.202.789-6022 phagen@bdlaw.com

Russell N. Fraker

Associate

+1.202.789.6048 rfraker@bdlaw.com

Daniel B. Schulson

Associate

+1.202.789.6007 dschulson@bdlaw.com

Hana V. Vizcarra

Associate

+1.410.230.1358 hvizcarra@bdlaw.com

Tiffany Carlson

Paralegal

+1.512.391.8011 tcarlson@bdlaw.com

Beveridge & Diamond's Latin American Practice

As part of our International Environmental practice, we help multinational clients navigate dynamic and unprecedented change in Latin American environmental law. Our Latin American group counsels clients from various industrial sectors on a wide range of issues arising under the domestic environmental regulations of most Latin American countries with emphasis in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru.  Learn more at www.bdlaw.com/LatinAmerica

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