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Media Release

CEC receives a submission on transboundary impacts from agricultural burning in Mexico

Montreal, 16 January 2018—On 10 January 2018, the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) received a submission from a resident of the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation in the United States along the US (Arizona)/Mexican border, asserting that her village is being impacted by “unannounced episodes of smoke drift from Mexico (agricultural burns).” According to documents filed by the Submitter, agricultural burning episodes have been occurring since June 2016 and that these are the result of a failure to effectively enforce Mexican environmental laws.

In submission SEM-18-001 (Transboundary Agricultural Burning), the Submitter, whose name is being kept confidential by the Secretariat, asserts that Mexico’s federal and state laws subject to “ongoing violations” include the General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (Ley General del Equilibrio Ecológico y la Protección al Ambiente, LGEEPA) and the Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection of the State of Sonora (Ley del Equilibrio Ecológico y Protección al Ambiente del Estado de Sonora).

The Secretariat has now 30 days to review the submission and determine whether it meets the admissibility requirements in Article 14(1) of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation.

For more information, please visit the CEC’s Submissions on Enforcement Matters webpage and the registry of Submission SEM-18-001 (Transboundary Agricultural Burning).

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The CEC SEM Process

The CEC Submissions on Enforcement Matters process supports public participation, information-sharing between governments and the public, and transparency and openness in the effective enforcement of environmental law in North America. If you have reason to believe that an environmental law is not being effectively enforced by Canada, Mexico or the United States, the SEM process may address your concerns.

As of 1 July 2020, the CEC’s SEM process is governed by USMCA Articles 24.27 and 24.28 of the Environment Chapter of the free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States (CUSMA, T-MEC, USMCA).

Want to learn more about the SEM process? Please watch this two-minute video for an introduction:

The SEM Process