CEC Receives USMCA/CUSMA Chapter 24 Submission on Water Quality in the Madín Dam Basin in Mexico
Montreal, 27 October 2022—Yesterday, the Madín Dam Basin Commission (La Comisión de Cuenca Presa Madín—“Submitter”) filed a submission with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) under Chapter 24 of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA/CUSMA). The Submitter asserts that Mexico is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws to uphold water quality standards and ensure pollutants in the Madín Dam Basin remain within legal limits. The Submitter maintains that the ineffective management of wastewater discharges is contributing to this situation.
In submission SEM-22-003 (Madín Dam Basin), the Submitter asserts that Mexico is failing to manage wastewater being discharged into waterways, leading to degradation of water quality and levels of pollutants above legal standards. In particular, the Submitter claims that Mexico failed to uphold provisions of the Mexican Constitution, various federal laws and Official Mexican Standards focused on water, forestry, climate change, public health, and the environment. The Submitter maintains that high levels of water contamination in the dam basin are responsible for a general decline of fish and bird species in the area and a fish die-off event in August 2021.
The Submitter cites several legal instruments, including the Mexican Constitution, the General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (Ley General del Equilibrio Ecológico y la Protección al Ambiente); the General Law of Sustainable Forestry Development (Ley General de Desarrollo Forestal Sustentable); the General Law Climate Change (Ley General de Cambio Climático) and the National Waters Law (Ley de Aguas Nacionales), among others.
The CEC Secretariat will review the submission within 30 days and determine whether it meets the requirements of USMCA/CUSMA Articles 24.27(2) and (3). To learn more, please consult the registry page for the submission SEM-22-003 (Madín Dam Basin).
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: