Puerto Rico Legal Highlights (Volume II, 2013)
Latin American Region Enviromental Report, Second Quarter, 2013
Plastic and Paper Bag Reduction Bill Approved by House Committee
On June 24, 2013, a bill (No. 1100; the “Bill”) that would eventually prohibit commercial establishments in Puerto Rico from providing customers with paper or plastic bags was reported out of committee in the House of Representatives. The Bill would require a one-year public education program to promote the use of reusable bags. (Art. 3) For the following year, consumers would be required to pay ten cents for each paper or plastic bag received from a commercial establishment. (Art. 4) The prohibition would come into effect following the year-long requirements. (Art. 4) The Bill would impose a fine of $500 for each bag delivered illegally. (Art. 7)
Reference Sources (in Spanish):
Environmental Audit Bill Introduced in Senate
On May 13, 2013, a bill (No. 596; the “Bill”) was introduced in the Senate that would create an Environmental Audit Program (Programa de Auditorías Ambientales) under the auspices of the Environmental Quality Board (Junta de Calidad Ambiental; the “Board”). Regulated entities wishing to participate in the Program would be required to submit an audit report to the Board that would, among other things, certify compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulations and describe proposed corrective actions for violations. (Art. 5) If a violation could not be corrected within 90 days, the entity would be required to submit a Compliance Plan (Plan de Cumplimiento) for approval by the Board. (Arts. 5(d), 7) In addition, participating facilities would be required to establish a Pollution Prevention Program (Plan de Prevención de Contaminación) pursuant to Board-issued regulations. (Art. 6) Entities participating in the Program would be eligible for penalty reductions for disclosed violations. (Art. 10) The Bill has been referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, Environment, and Energy.