The Mexican environmental regulatory and statutory framework
Manufacturing companies that are considering the initiation and maintenance of operations in Mexico’s maquiladora industry must take many factors into account when deciding and making preparation to do so. Beyond strictly economic considerations it is advisable to have, at a minimum, a basic understanding of, among other things, the Mexican environmental regulatory and statutory framework.
Be aware of Mexico’s basic environmenal regs and statutes
The Mexican environmental regulatory and statutory framework is structured on all three of the country’s governing levels (municipal, state and federal). Each level of government has defined jurisdictions as they relate to issues related to the environment, and is charged with the responsibility of dealing with them. For instance, it is the domain of state governments to oversee any special handling of certain wastes that may be required by statue, the joint responsibility of state and municipal authorities to deal with issues dealing with the disposition of solid wastes and the purview of the federal government to make sure that hazardous waste is disposed of in accord with the Mexican environmental regulatory and statutory framework as each has been defined by the nation’s governance. Issues that address environmental impact study and assessment requirements, which can be of particular importance to firms involved in industrial production, fall within the parameters of responsibility that have been established on both the state and federal levels.
A list of the most important documents that constitute the underpinnings for the Mexican environmental regulatory and statutory framework would include, first and foremost, the General Law on Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (LGEEPA).
Other documents that are important to be aware of and to examine when attempting to gain a knowledge of the Mexican environmental and statutory framework include:
- The Federal Law of Environmental Liability (LFRA);
- The General Law on the Prevention and the Comprehensive Management of Waste (LGPGIR)
- The National Waters Law (LAN);
- The General Law on Climate Change (LGCC) and its Regulations on the National Registry of Emissions.
In short, the General Law on Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (LGEEPA) is the most important of the country’s laws when considering the Mexican environmental regulatory and statutory framework in the broadest of terms. The statute is divided into six sections which are associated with the following areas: air pollution, hazardous waste, water quality, soil use and conservation, naturally protected areas, public participation, right to environmental information, land use, environmental impact assessments and noise.
In general terms, in the context of the Mexican environmental regulatory and statutory framework, the Federal Law of Environmental Liability, or LFRA, regulates the liability derived from environmental damage, as well as legally defined reparation and compensation requirements, while the National Waters Law (LAN) of 1992 aims to provide a mechanism that is designed to:
- prevent the over-exploitation of this valuable natural resource;
- protect both surface and groundwater quality
- modernize the infrastructure required to deliver and clean fresh water;
- adapt to natural events that impact water supply such as droughts and floods.
In October of 2014, Mexico’s Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) issued the nation’s new greenhouse gas (GHG) registry and reporting regulation, under the General Law on Climate Change (LGCC). Under this law, the Mexican environmental regulatory and statutory now accommodates the nation’s commitment to reduce its levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 35% below its baseline year 2000 rates by 2020. By following the provisions of the LGCC, Mexico aims to reduce year 2000 baseline emissions by 50% by the year 2050.
Consult with experts on the subject matter, when necessary
As is the case when an individual or a company embarks on any new venture, prudence and good planning dictate the attainment of a workable base of knowledge in areas that will have impact upon the success, or lack thereof, of that new venture. For firms that are exploring the possibility of setting up maquiladora manufacturing operations, getting a handle on the basics of the Mexican environmental regulatory and statutory framework is essential. Companies that have questions on some of the basics are invited to contact the environmental compliance team at the Tecma Group of Companies.