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April 18, 2014

Mexico Legal Highlights (Volume I 2013)

Latin American Region Environmental Report, Volume I 2013 

Producer and Importer Special Management Waste Take-Back Rules Adopted

After years in development, Mexico’s Secretary of the Environment (Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recusos Naturales or SEMARNAT) has finalized rules identifying those special management wastes that are subject to producer and importer take-back and management plans and, when generated in large quantities, to generator management plans. See Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-161-SEMARNAT-2011, Que establece los criterios para clasificar a los Residuos de Manejo Especial y determinar cuales están sujetos a Plan de Manejo; el listado de los mismos, el procedimiento para la inclusion u exclusion a dicho listado; así como los elementos y procedimientos para la fomulacion de los planes de manejo. The rules, which implement the General Law on the Prevention and Comprehensive Management of Wastes (Ley General para la Prevención y Gestión Integral de los Residuos) and its Regulation, also identify the elements of take-back plans, which are subject to state jurisdiction and registration requirements. By way of an Annex, the rules list a wide range of wastes subject to management plans, including health services wastes, agricultural and fishing wastes, transportation wastes, non-hazardous wastewater treatment wastes, department store and commercial center wastes, construction wastes, certain end-of-life electronic wastes, end-of-life vehicles, and a range of plastic, paper, metal and wood wastes. (Annex).

Proposed Rules Would Regulate CO2 Emissions From New Cars

Moving forward with its progressive climate change initiatives, Mexico’s secretaries of the environment and energy have proposed rules that would regulate carbon dioxide emissions from new automotive vehicles less than 3857 kilograms. See Proyecto de Norma Oficial MexicanaPROY-NOM-163-SEMARNAT-ENER-SCFI-2012, Emisiones de bióxido de carbon (CO2) provenientes del escape y su equivalencia en términos de rendimiento de combustible, aplicable a vehículos automotores nuevos de peso bruto vehicular de hasta 3857 kilogramos. The rules, which would add to existing vehicle emissions standards regulating emissions of total hydorcarbons, methane, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates, propose phased-in CO2 standards beginning in 2013 through 2016. By 2016, maximum CO2 emissions for regulated vehicles would be 1.98 CO2/km or 0.17 km/l. The NOM was subject to a sixty-day public comment period that began on the date the rule was proposed on February 20, 2013 and which has now closed.

Mexico Proposes Rules Regulating GMO Experimental Release Risk Reports

In a jointly issued rule, Mexico’s secretaries for the environment (SEMARNAT) and agriculture (SEGARPA) have adopted standards for developing reports on the environmental and agricultural risks from experimental or pilot releases of GMOs. See Proyecto de Norma Oficial Mexicana PROY-NOM-164-SEMARNAT/SAGARPA-2012, Que establece las características y contenido del reporte de resultados de la or las liberaciones realizadas de organismsos genéticanmente modificados, en relación con los posibles riesgos para el medio ambiente y la diversidad biologica y, adicionalmente, a la sanidad animal, vegetal y acuícola. The guidance outlines a detailed series of technical information and scientific studies to support exposure pathways and risks; SEMARNAT or SAGARPA may request additional information. (Art. 6.1.5). The basis for the standard appears largely drawn from scientific literature and studies issued by the European Food Safety Authority. (Bibliography). The rules are intended to satisfy, in part, Mexico’s obligations under the Cartagena Protocol and to implement its Law on the Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms. The public comment period, which was set sixty days after its publication on January 1, 2013, has now closed.

© 2014 Beveridge & Diamond PC

About the Author

Madeleine Boyer Kadas, Environmental Lawyer, Beveridge & Diamond Law Firm
Principal

Maddie Kadas is a Principal in the Firm's Texas Office and divides her practice between international and domestic environmental law. She began as an Associate in the Washington D.C. Office in 1999 and was named the first Managing Principal of the Texas Office in 2005.    

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