I.  Introduction

Mexico’s environmental laws and regulations are in the process of a major overhaul. In late 1996, the country’s principal environmental legislation, the General Ecology Law (see below), was entirely revised. Since that date, laws and regulations have been modified to reflect those reforms. Currently, the federal government is working on revisions to the regulations on environmental impact, air pollution, and hazardous wastes and materials, which will cover risk. A new law on wildlife will replace the current hunting law. At the same time, new technical standards are being developed for a broad range of topics such as sanitary landfills and oil exploration activities in rural areas.

In addition, decentralization, a major theme of the 1996 reforms, means that the federal government is giving states control over more issues and enabling the federal delegations of the central government in the various states (“federal delegates”) to issue more authorizations. (See below under “State Law and Standards” and “Federal Delegates”)

Finally, a trend toward simplifying procedures has led to the creation of the ‘one-stop window’ (ventanilla única de trámites) for handling all federal paperwork at both the National Institute of Ecology (“INE”) and a similar structure at the National Water Commission (“CNA”). The same trend shows up in the development of Mexico’s sole environmental license (see below under “LAU”) and it’s accompanying annual multimedia environmental report (see below under “COA”).


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