Amendment to Various Environmental Laws

July 23, 2007
Amendment to Various Environmental Laws

Amendments to various environmental laws were recently published in the Official Journal of the Federation. Among them were amendmentsto the General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (LGEEPA) and the General Law for the Prevention and IntegralManagement of Wastes (LGPGIR). Below are details of some of the amendments:I. Amendments relating to biodegradable detergents and waste from the mining-metallurgical industry: On May 19, amendments to theLGEEPA and the LGPGIR were published by which section XII was added to article 89 of the LGEEPA, for the purpose of including, asan element within the criteria for the sustainable use of water and the aquatic systems, those practices of the productive sector relating tothe quality of surface and underground waters. Additionally, the second paragraph of article 19 was modified and orders the creation of anOfficial Mexican Norm relating to the biodegradability of detergents, in order to prevent water contamination, for which the Department ofthe Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) is granted six months to issue said Official Mexican Norm. Given such,SEMARNAT must consider the criteria and norms to avoid the contamination of water derived from the production processes and issue anew Official Mexican Norm to require the biodegradability of detergents that are sold or used in Mexico. It is important to mention that theamendments fail to mention if there will exist changes to stricter criteria standards or permitted discharge tables currently established by theFederal Law of Fees in relation to national receiving bodies, which could imply a greater payment of fees relating to discharges.II. Amendments relating to the mining-metallurgical industry: On June 20, 2007, the amendment to article 17 of the LGPGIR entered intoforce in order to establish that mining-metallurgical industry waste falls under federal jurisdiction, and the generation, hazard level andhandling will be regulated by means of Official Norms issued by SEMARNAT, which is meant to give greater certainty concerning theauthority competent to regulate such. It is important to mention that materials or waste that can be used as construction material areexcluded from federal jurisdictionIII. Amendments relating to tax incentives to improve the environment: A recent amendment to article 22 Bis, section VI of the LGEEPAestablishes the possibility that those certified environmental persons may obtain tax incentives for the carrying out of processes, servicesand manufacturing products. The amendment is congruent with the principal of creating incentives for those that protect the environmentand make use of natural resources in a sustainable way, in accordance with that set forth in section IV of article 15 of the LGEEPA.

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