Environment & Climate Change updates

Mexico

Contributed by Hogan Lovells BSTL SC
Waste management rules for hydrocarbons sector to be enacted
  • Mexico
  • November 13 2017

The National Agency for Industrial Safety and the Protection of the Environment in the Hydrocarbons Sector recently filed a draft emergency Mexican official standard before the Federal Regulatory Betterment Commission. The draft establishes the criteria for classifying types of special and hazardous waste derived from the hydrocarbons sector, determines which types of waste are subject to a waste management plan and details the procedures for formulating such a plan.

ASEA issues draft water protection guidelines applicable to shale oil projects
  • Mexico
  • June 26 2017

Following the expansion of shale oil extraction projects and the discovery of unconventional hydrocarbon deposits, the National Agency for Industrial Safety and the Protection of the Environment in the Hydrocarbons Sector recently commenced a public consultation process to enact applicable water protection guidelines. The draft guidelines provide a glimpse of the authorities' preliminary approach to shale oil projects with regard to water resources and environmental protection.

ASEA issues environmental and safety guidelines for ground transportation of oil and petrochemicals through pipelines
  • Mexico
  • May 29 2017

As part of its expansion of operational safety and environmental protection guidelines and administrative provisions, the National Agency for Industrial Safety and the Protection of the Environment in the Hydrocarbons Sector turned its attention to oil, gas and petrochemical pipeline transportation activities. Recently issued guidelines complement the environmental legal framework so that both environmental and personal safety are guaranteed during the lifetime of a pipeline project.

ASEA issues guidelines to identify root cause of environmental and safety incidents in hydrocarbons sector
  • Mexico
  • February 20 2017

In light of its concerns regarding environmental and operational accidents arising from hydrocarbons projects, the National Agency for Industrial Safety and the Protection of the Environment in the Hydrocarbons Sector recently published the Guidelines to Carry Out the Root Cause Investigation for Incidents and Accidents. The guidelines aim to identify the root cause of an incident and determine the maintenance and preventive mechanisms that must be implemented in order to prevent such events in future.

Environmental incidents in the hydrocarbons sector: new reporting obligations introduced
  • Mexico
  • November 28 2016

Two important instruments were recently published which have generated a number of new environmental reporting obligations for companies involved in the hydrocarbons sector. In addition to these obligations, parties that cause an incident or spill during the execution of a project must undertake all applicable measures and actions to contain, mitigate and repair the environmental damage and contamination caused.


Sweden

Contributed by Advokatfirman Lindahl
Proportionality grounds for exemption from national species protection provisions
  • Sweden
  • July 10 2017

The Land and Environment Court of Appeal recently determined a case regarding exemption from national provisions to protect the fungus species Sarcosoma globosum. While the ruling provides some nuance and clarification, the case has since been subject to interesting and varying interpretations by land owners, authorities and law practitioners.

New Climate Act – pioneering or meaningless?
  • Sweden
  • March 13 2017

The Cross-party Committee on Environmental Objectives recently presented its final report, "A climate policy framework for Sweden". The Climate Policy Framework is a result of a cross-party political agreement that will supposedly make the climate a top issue in all policy work. The report resulted in a draft bill which was circulated for consideration. The Council on Legislation presented its views on the new Climate Act in February 2017.

Prohibition of debated herbicide
  • Sweden
  • November 07 2016

The Environmental Court recently rejected a farmers' organisation's appeal and refused to grant a new emergency authorisation for the use of Stomp SC in Sweden regarding the commercial production of onions. According to the appellant, the decision could jeopardise the competitiveness of certain Swedish crops on the European market, since Stomp SC is allowed in other EU member states and no equally effective alternatives are available in Sweden.

Final report from Drinking Water Inquiry
  • Sweden
  • May 30 2016

The Drinking Water Inquiry recently submitted its final report to the government. The aim of the report was to identify challenges to a secure drinking water supply from raw water sources to delivery, and to suggest relevant actions. The inquiry contains good proposals to improve planning and management of drinking water from source to tap. However, its future success relies heavily on the work of authorities within their appointed areas of responsibility.

New provisions on traffic noise levels
  • Sweden
  • July 27 2015

The new Ordinance on Traffic Noise Levels in Housing Construction contains provisions on noise from rail, road and airport traffic. The main purposes of the ordinance are to harmonise the legal framework for construction and promote the construction of residential buildings in urban areas. The ordinance sends a clear signal that the legislature intends to fulfil the goals set out to promote housing construction in urban areas.


Switzerland

Contributed by Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
Revision of Federal Act on the Reduction of CO2 Emissions
  • Switzerland
  • December 18 2017

The Federal Council recently published its dispatch regarding the total revision of the Federal Act on the Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions for 2021 to 2030. The parliamentary debate on the revision of the act will start in 2018. This will define the development and course of Swiss climate policy for upcoming years. Switzerland aims to tighten the act and reinforce its contribution to the limitation of global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Major steps taken towards linking Swiss and EU emissions trading systems
  • Switzerland
  • October 09 2017

Contrary to the EU emissions trading system (ETS), thus far the Swiss ETS does not incorporate aviation emissions. In order to align and link the Swiss and EU ETS, the Swiss system must include these emissions. As such, the Federal Council recently adopted the Ordinance on the Acquisition and Reporting of Tonne-Kilometre Data relating to Distances Covered by Aircraft.

Environmental legislation in effect and in the pipeline
  • Switzerland
  • May 01 2017

Various amendments to Swiss environmental statutes and ordinances came into effect in 2016 or will come into effect in 2017. These new measures include certain amendments to the adjustments to the Ordinance on Movements of Waste, a revision of the Ordinance on the Protection against Non-ionising Radiation and amendments to the Federal Act on Forests and the Ordinance on Forests.

Federal Supreme Court decision on building in noise-affected areas
  • Switzerland
  • December 19 2016

Swiss environmental laws provide for certain requirements to allow new building zones and new buildings in areas that are affected by noise. To assess compliance with these requirements, noise measurements are required. In a recent decision, the Federal Supreme Court decided that a widely used method of measurement – so-called 'ventilation-window practice' – is not compatible with legal requirements.

Federal Supreme Court decision on 'polluter pays' principle and heirs' liability
  • Switzerland
  • July 25 2016

The Federal Supreme Court recently decided on the environmental liability of owners that make their property available to landfill operators in return for financial compensation. The court also held that the cost-bearing duty of the initial property owner did not transfer to the heirs and so they must therefore be released from any cost-bearing duty.


USA

Contributed by Sidley Austin LLP
Ninth Circuit limits reach of anti-duplication provision
  • USA
  • December 18 2017

The Ninth Circuit recently issued an opinion that reflected a limited interpretation of the scope of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's anti-duplication provision, which provides that the act must be construed to apply to or authorise state regulation of "any activity or substance" regulated under several other federal statutes, including the Clean Water Act.

EPA issues directive on advisory committees
  • USA
  • December 11 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a directive intended to strengthen and improve membership on the agency's advisory committees. The directive calls for the EPA to apply the following principles in setting membership on its advisory committees: strengthen member independence; increase state, tribal and local government participation; enhance geographic diversity; and promote fresh perspectives.

Officials allegedly violating youth plaintiffs' constitutional rights by failing to fight climate change
  • USA
  • December 11 2017

A pair of new lawsuits claim that various government officials and agencies are violating youth plaintiffs' constitutional rights due to a failure to combat climate change sufficiently. The first case is against the state of Alaska, its governor and various other state officials and agencies. The second case alleges that specific Trump administration actions violated the plaintiffs' due process and public trust doctrine rights.

EPA issues final attainment area designations for ozone NAAQS
  • USA
  • December 04 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final rule addressing which areas of the United States are in attainment of the 2015 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). The agency found that 2,646 of the over 3,100 counties in the United States are in attainment of the ozone NAAQS. The EPA will continue to review the designation of the remaining counties.

EPA issues NODAs regarding 2016 NSPS for oil and gas industry
  • USA
  • December 04 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued two notices of data availability in support of its proposed stays of various portions of the 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the oil and gas industry (known as the 'Quad Oa' rule). The notices include a proposed two-year stay of the Quad Oa requirements and a proposed three-month stay to run during the gap between the publication and effective dates of the two-year stay.