Submission ID: SEM-00-005
Party concerned: Mexico
Date filed: April 6, 2000
Submission Status: Closed
Latest Update: October 8, 2004
The final factual record was publicly released.
Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:
The Submitters allege that Mexico has failed to effectively enforce the General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (Ley General del Equilibrio Ecologico y la Proteccion al Ambiente-LGEEPA) in relation to the operation of the company Molymex, S.A. de C.V. (Molymex) in the town of Cumpas, Sonora, Mexico. The company processes residues generated in the smelting of copper by national and foreign companies to produce molybdenum trioxide, presumably causing damage and loss to human health and the environment. Specifically, the Submitters allege that Mexico has failed to effectively enforce the LGEEPA with respect to: (i) operation without environmental impact authorization, (ii) land use which is incompatible with the cattle raising and use in the area; (iii) preservation and sustainable use of the land; (iv) zoning for contaminating industries in Cumpas; (v) the return to the country of origin of hazardous waste generated under the rules of temporary importation; (vi) the importation of dangerous materials without ensuring compliance with the LGEEPA and liability for potential harm and damages. Lastly, the Submitters request the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) to prepare a report in accordance with Article 13 of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) regarding the Molymex case, because it refers to a matter related to the cooperative activities under the NAAEC and is contemplated in the North American Agenda for Action 2000-2002 which, the Submitters claim, would further the objectives of said Agenda.
Summary of the response provided by the Party:
In its response regarding the environmental impact requirements, Mexico asserts, among other things, that the Mexican Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) is legally prevented from requiring Molymex to file an environmental impact statement because the relevant LGEEPA provisions came into effect 11 January 1982, and Molymex began operating in 1979. The Mexican response argues that because the environmental impact assessment is a preventive procedure, it must take place prior to the establishment of industrial sites and that the LGEEPA may not be applied retroactively. However, with regard to the Molymex expansion project, which took place in 1998, Mexico agrees that the environmental impact requirements were applicable at that time, and explains how those requirements were in fact applied. With regard to the plant’s air emissions, Mexico’s response indicates that Molymex obtained an operating license which was renewed on several occasions, most recently on 29 November 2000, and that the license establishes a set of rigorous conditions for the operation of Molymex. Overall, Mexico asserts that the information contained in its response demonstrates that there is no failure to effectively enforce environmental law in this case.
Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:
The General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection; NOM (Official Mexican Standard) -043-ECOL-1993 (Particulate matter from fixed sources); NOM-022-SSA1/1993 (Environmental health. Air quality with respect to sulfur dioxide); NOM-085-ECOL/1994 (fuels for direct and indirect heating equipment by combustion).
Academia Sonorense de Derechos Humanos, Domingo Gutiérrez Mendívil
The Secretariat received a submission and began a preliminary analysis of it under the guidelines.
Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 31/03/2000
Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 27/04/2000
The Secretariat began reviewing the submission under Article 14(1)
The Secretariat notified the submitter(s) that the submission did not meet all of the Article 14(1) criteria and the submitter(s) had 30 days to provide the Secretariat with a revised submission that conforms with Article 14(1).
Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) authored by Secretariat on 13/07/2000
The Secretariat received a revised submission and began to analyze it.
Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 25/07/2000
Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 01/08/2000
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 19/10/2000
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 18/01/2001
Acknowledgement - Other document authored by Secretariat on 22/01/2001
The Secretariat informed Council that the Secretariat considers that the submission warrants development of a factual record.
Recommendation - Secretariat Notification to Council under Article 15(1) authored by Secretariat on 20/12/2001
The Council voted to instruct the Secretariat to develop a Factual Record.
Resolution - Council decision concerning the development of a Factual Record authored by Council on 17/05/2002
The Secretariat placed a work plan on its web site or otherwise made it available to the public and stakeholders.
Workplan - Overall workplan for Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 28/05/2002
The Secretariat posted a request for information relevant to the factual record on its web site.
Secretariat Information Request - Document related to the preparation of a Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 20/06/2002
The Secretariat submitted a draft factual record to Council, for a 45-day comment period on the accuracy of the draft.
The Secretariat received comments from Mexico.
The Secretariat submitted a final factual record to Council for Council's vote on whether to make the final factual record publicly available.
Council voted to instruct the Secretariat to make the final factual record publicly available.
Resolution - Council decision on whether the factual record will be made publicly available authored by Council on 24/09/2004
The final factual record was publicly released.
Final Factual Record - Final Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 25/08/2004