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Latin American Region Environmental Report: Argentina Highlights (Volume III 2013)

Argentine Senate Proposes Restrictions on Fracking

On September 4, a bill (Proyecto de Ley S-3351/13; “Bill”) was introduced in the Senate that would establish minimum environmental standards relating to the exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons in Argentina.  The Bill would apply to activities in low-porosity and low-permeability formations such as shale and would include exploration done by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).  (Bill, Art. 5).  It would require that an environmental impact assessment be approved by government authorities prior to commencement of exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbon deposits or reservoirs.  (Art. 2)  Permit applicants would be required to disclose, among other things, the estimated volume and source of water and the chemical composition of any fluids to be used in fracking.  (Arts. 2a, 2c)  Government authorities would be required to establish a ranking system of preferred water sources, including wastewater from industrial or personal uses, flowback from drilling operations, and, in case of necessity, potable sources.  (Art. 10)  The Bill would also set requirements for treatment of flowback (Art. 12), and would mandate that unconventional wells be isolated from underground aquifers (Art. 15) and be located so as to minimize their footprint on surface waters and population centers (Art. 17).  Drilling operations would be subject to mandatory audits to ensure compliance with applicable laws.  (Art. 19).  Finally, the Bill would create an Advisory Commission (Comisión Asesora para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Actividad Hidrocarburífera No Convencional), which would make recommendations regarding the adequacy of regulation of unconventional hydrocarbon activity and would propose new rules.  (Art. 23).

The Bill has been referred to the Committees on Environment and Sustainable Development and on Mining, Energy, and Fuels.

Reference Source (in Spanish):

Agro-Industrial Carbon Footprint Bill Introduced in Chamber of Deputies

On September 20, a bill (Proyecto de Ley 6631-D-2013; “the Bill”) was introduced in the Chamber of Deputies that would seek to combat greenhouse gas emissions by promoting a methodology for calculating carbon footprints in the agro-industrial sector.  As stated in the preamble, the Bill targets the agro-industrial sector both as major export sector as well as a large emitter in certain cases.  The Bill would require the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, “the Ministry”) to identify production chains of strategic importance than might require the development of carbon-footprint accounting, promote the development of sector-appropriate procedures for calculating carbon footprints, analyzing the costs and benefits of implementing carbon-footprint calculation in Argentina, raise awareness among producers about carbon-footprint calculation, and promote mitigation of greenhouse-gas emissions.  (Bill, Art. 5).  The Ministry, together with the environment, agriculture, and foreign affairs ministries, would be required to develop a National Plan (Plan Nacional) that would provide details regarding the development, implementation, and dissemination of carbon-footprint calculation methodologies for the agro-industrial sector.  (Art. 6).  Companies that adopt carbon-footprint calculation and product labeling would be eligible for tax and credit-based incentives, although those incentives are not outlined in the Bill.  (Art. 9).  The provinces and the City of Buenos Aires would be invited to take part in implementation of the Bill, but their participation would not be mandatory.  (Art. 10).  The Bill has been referred to the Committees on Natural Resources and Conservation of the Human Environment, Social Action and Public Health, and Budget and Finance.

Reference Source (in Spanish):

Packaging-Waste Management Bill Introduced in Chamber of Deputies

On August 15, a bill (Proyecto de Ley 5761-D-2013; “Bill”) was introduced in the Chamber of Deputies that would create a comprehensive management system for packaging waste.  This follows the introduction of a similar bill in April. (See LAR Environmental Report, August 2013.)  Like the April measure, the Bill would apply to a potentially wide range of packaging and packaging waste.  (Arts. 6-7).  It would set out numerical targets for the amount of packaging and packaging waste that must be recycled, requiring for example that by the end of 2014, between 55 and 80 percent of all waste be recycled.  (Art. 8).  The federal Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development (Secretaría de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sustentable) and Argentina’s provinces would be charged with developing collection and recycling systems for used packaging and packaging waste.  (Art. 14).  These systems would be implemented, in part, through management plans that would cover manufacturers, importers, vendors, distributors, and handlers of packaging and packaging waste.  (Arts. 24-25).  Among other things, the Bill would also require National Customs Office to impose tariffs on imported packaging.  (Art. 27).  The Bill has been referred to the Committees on Industry, Natural Resources and Conservation of the Human Environment, and Budget and Finance.

Reference Source (in Spanish):

Electronic-Waste Bill Introduced in Senate

On September 18, an electronic-waste management bill (Proyecto de Ley S-3519/13; “Bill”) was introduced in the Senate.  Sponsored by Senator Daniel Filmus, who is well known for championing environmental legislation, the Bill would apply the principle of extended producer responsibility to electrical- and electronic-waste management.  (Art. 3).  The Bill would cover a broad array of electronic and electrical equipment (“EEE”), with exceptions for equipment with national security or military applications and for radioactive equipment covered by other legislation.  (Art. 4)  It would create a National System of waste electronic and electrical equipment (“WEEE”) management to be implemented at the federal, provincial, and local levels.  (Arts. 22-23)  The system would provide for the collection, transport, recycling, and disposal of WEEE, and would be guided by a multiyear plan to be updated annually.  (Arts. 22-25)  Equipment producers would be required to design their products to facilitate their reuse and minimize the content of certain hazardous substances, and producers would also be assessed a per-product fee to fund the National System.  (Art. 20).  Distributors would be required to collect WEEE at the point of sale of equivalent new products and would have certain other waste-management obligations.  (Art. 21) Waste generators would be required to dispose of their WEEE through mechanisms established in each jurisdiction.  (Art. 17).

Reference Sources (in Spanish):

·        Proyecto de Ley S-3519/13 (Senado)

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About this Author

Edward Grauman, Environmental Lawyer, Beveridge & Diamond Law Firm

Edward M. Grauman’s practice focuses on high-stakes, complex commercial and environmental litigation at both the trial and appellate levels. He works with clients across a wide spectrum of industries, including chemicals, consumer products, financial services, high tech, insurance, media, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, security services, and telecommunications. His experience across industries and subject-matter areas gives him a deep understanding of the business considerations involved in large-scale disputes and enables him to provide clients with sound strategic...