Environmental Articles


A New Era in the Regulation of Natural Gas in Mexico, by José María Lujambio

July 1, 2017 is an historic date for the natural gas sector in Mexico. On such date started the so-called “permanent regime” of capacity reservation in the National Integrated Transportation and Storage System. In addition, the terms and conditions for the first-hand sales of natural gas made by Pemex Industrial Transformation, and the natural gas trading contract model for the affiliate MGC México, entered into force. The last time the Energy Regulatory Commission (“CRE”) had sought to launch the “permanent regime” was in September 2011. At that time, Pemex Gas and Basic Petrochemistry successfully challenged the resolution by such regulator. In fact, that was the last attempt by the CRE to demonstrate that the regulatory framework, institutional arrangement and industrial … read more


The Importance of Having Proper Documentation during Work Place Inspections, by Pablo Sáenz

The Department of Labor and Social Welfare (“STPS” for its Spanish acronym) schedules annual inspections for all companies in Mexico.  The purposes of inspections may vary; however, they are mainly performed to review general labor conditions, safety, health and environmental work conditions as applicable to each company.  During the performance of such inspections, the STPS inspectors request various documents from the company to confirm compliance with legal requirements established by the Federal Labor Law, the Federal Regulations on Safety, Health and Environmental Work Conditions and the various Official Mexican Standards (“NOMs” for their Spanish acronym) issued by the STPS.  The following is a list of some of the main items that are subject to inspection: I. General Work Conditions: a) … read more


Industrial Safety and Environmental Protection in the Hydrocarbons Sector, by Jose Maria Lujambio I.

One of the most important developments that the energy reform has brought to Mexican law is the creation of a new institution known as the National Agency for Industrial Safety and Environmental Protection in the hydrocarbons sector. Due to its lengthy name, in April 2015, it was announced that such agency will be officially identified as the Safety, Energy and Environment Agency (ASEA for its Spanish acronym). The constitutional reform of December 2013 ordered Congress to create a decentralized agency of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT for its Spanish acronym), with technical and administrative autonomy, and a certain degree of budget autonomy. Contrary to the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH for its Spanish acronym) and the Energy … read more


Industrial Security and Environmental Protection in the Hydrocarbons Sector

By Jose Maria Lujambio I.

One of the most important developments that the energy reform has brought to Mexican law is the creation of a new institution known as the National Agency for Industrial Security and Environmental Protection in the hydrocarbons sector. Due to its lengthy name, in April 2015, it was announced that such agency will be officially identified as the Security, Energy and Environment Agency (ASEA for its Spanish acronym). The constitutional reform of December 2013 ordered Congress to create a decentralized agency of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT for its Spanish acronym), with technical and administrative autonomy, and a certain degree of budget autonomy. Contrary to the National Commission of Hydrocarbons (CNH for its Spanish acronym) and the … read more


The Regulation of Forest Lands in Mexico

In Mexico, it is important to verify whether real property used for construction and development is considered to be “Forest Land” and, if so, developers must to change the zoning of such forest land before the Mexican Department of the Environment and Natural Resources.   The General Sustainable Forest Development Law (Ley General de Desarrollo Forestal Sustentable) defines forest land broadly as that which is covered by “forest vegetation,” which means, “The combination of plants and fungi that grow and develop in their natural state forming forests, jungles, arid and semi-arid zones and other ecosystems giving rise to the development and balanced cohabitation of other natural resources and processes.”  Given the lack of a national forest inventory, Mexican federal environmental authorities … read more


New Regulation on National Water Rights

On May 27, 2011, a new regulation was published in the Official Journal of the Federation that aims to establish the procedure to determine and pay the fee known as the “guaranty of no expiration fee” (cuota de garantía de no caducidad) referred to in the National Water Law (Ley de Aguas Nacionales). The payment of the guaranty of no expiration fee allows licensees or assignees of national water rights to avoid the termination of the license because of expiration. This permits licensees to maintain their rights to use the volume of water licensed or assigned, or, when applicable, to fully carry out a permanent transfer of water rights to third parties. The new regulation contains the formula used to … read more


Amendments to State of Nuevo Leon’s Environmental Law

On November 5, 2010 an amendment to the Environmental Law of the State of Nuevo Leon was published in the Official Journal of the State of Nuevo Leon. The amendment comes as a result of the modification of almost 100 articles of the State Environmental Protection Agency and State Department of Sustainable Development, in regard to changes in rules governing wastewater discharges that are subject to self-regulation by the industry, as well as making wastewater quality standards consistent with the Mexican Law of National Water and other Official Mexican Norms (Ley de Aguas Nacionales y Normas Oficiales Mexicanos). Another notable modification is the reduction of response times from the authority regarding whether or not a party is required to submit … read more


New Regulations on Environmental Audits and Self-Regulation

On April 29, 2010 the Mexican Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) published new regulations to the General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection pertaining to Environmental Audits and Self-Regulation matters (the “Regulations). The Regulations create a new process of self-regulation through which entities may adopt practices that meet or exceed applicable environmental requirements, with the purpose of obtaining a certification from the Mexican Federal Environmental Protection Prosecutor’s (PROFEPA) office recognizing the entity’s full compliance with environmental regulations. The Regulations establish procedures for applying for and obtaining certificates, such as the National Environmental Auditing Program, based on principles of strategic planning, promotion of environmental certification, clear evaluation procedures and development of self-evaluation capabilities.


New Reforms to Mexican Wildlife Law Prohibit the Introduction of Exotic Animals to Wildlife Conservation and Management Units (UMAS)

On April 6, 2010, new reforms to the Mexican Wildlife Law (Ley General de Vida Silvestre) were published in the Official Journal of the Federation which prohibit the introduction of any non-native exotic animals or game to Wildlife Conservation and Management Units or UMAS.  Such reforms also prohibit the importation into Mexico of exotic wildlife that may threaten the biodiversity, economy or public health of the country. Such reforms apply to wildlife species that are not native to the particular place where an UMA is located.  As such, non-native exotic game will not be permitted to be released or introduced to such particular UMA as per new articles 27Bis and 27Bis 1 of the Wildlife Law. Prior to the new … read more


Draft Modifications to Mexican Standards on Air Emissions

The Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) published draft modifications to official Mexican NOM-05-SEMARNAT-1994 to initiate a review and discussion of such draft by interested industry sectors and public groups. In general terms, the changes contemplate: a) eliminating specifications related to direct heating equipment, so long as such function in accordance with applicable regulations, and the norm applies solely to sulfur dioxide from those sources that emit sulfur from burning fuel; b) eliminating concepts of regional levels and certificates of emission when, as the case may be, such matters are under the jurisdiction of other authorities; c) eliminating the standard of excess air in view of the fact that such is not a pollutant and be substituted by … read more