Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:

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).

Summary of the response provided by the Party:

In accordance with NAAEC Article 14(3), the government of Mexico responded to the Submission arguing that the Submitters did not provide sufficiently clear or unambiguous information necessary to make a Submission under Article 14. Specifically, Mexico asserts that the Submitter has failed to submit evidence in support of the allegation that the source of the air pollution is from Caborca, Sonora and that the pollution is ongoing and continuous. Mexico also notes that the bylaws and regulations cited in the Submission relate only to the Municipality of Caborca and therefore have no bearing on the municipality of Plutarco Elías Calles (the municipality immediately adjacent to the Submitter’s community). Mexico also asserts that the Submitter has failed to show that the air pollution is a consequence of agricultural burning in Caborca and that there is a causal connection between the pollution and a failure on the part of Mexico to apply the relevant provisions of its environmental laws. Mexico therefore maintains that it is unable to provide information related to agricultural burning in the municipality of Plutarco Elías Calles.

Mexico also acknowledges that the Federal and State governments do not have the subject-matter jurisdiction under the Mexican constitution and other relevant laws to regulate emissions resulting from agricultural burning and notes that this is a power which rests with the municipalities. Nevertheless, Mexico maintains that Federal government and State government have engaged in a number of actions which aim to monitor and manage emissions. One such program, ProAire Sonora, reports no emissions from agricultural burning from the municipality of Plutarco Elías Calles of Sonora.

Mexico also notes the similarity in facts and circumstances surrounding this Submission and Submission SEM-16-001 (Agricultural Waste Burning in Sonora), which concerns the burning of agricultural waste in Sonora. Per section 10.3 of the Guidelines for Submissions on Enforcement Matters which permits the production of a single factual record, Mexico suggests that the submissions be consolidated by the Secretariat  to promote the efficient use of resources of the CEC, given that a hypothetical factual record in this matter will not reveal new or distinct information than what can be expected from a factual record resulting from Submission SEM-16-001.

Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:

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)

Submitter(s):

Identity of submitter withheld pursuant to Article 11(8)(a)

Submission Timeline

January 10, 2018

The Secretariat received a submission and began a preliminary analysis of it under the guidelines.

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 28/12/2017

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 11/01/2018

February 19, 2018

The Secretariat determined that the submission met the criteria of Article 14(1) and requested a response from the concerned government Party in accordance with Article 14(2).

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) and 14 (2) authored by Secretariat on 19/02/2018

May 18, 2018

The Secretariat received a response from the concerned government Party and began considering whether to recommend a factual record.

Party Response - Response from the Party under Article 14 (3) authored by Mexico on 18/05/2018

Acknowledgement - Other document authored by Secretariat on 22/05/2018

June 22, 2018

The Secretariat determined not to recommend the preparation of a factual record. Under guideline 9.6, the process was terminated.

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 15 (1) authored by Secretariat on 22/06/2018