In this edition:
State of São Paulo Decree No. 59.263 of June 5, 2013 ("State Decree No. 59.263/13") establishes guidelines and procedures for soil quality protection and management of contaminated areas.
On June 6, 2013, State Decree No. 59.263/13 went into effect, regulating State Law No. 13.577/09, which established guidelines and procedures for the protection of soil quality and management of contaminated areas within the State of São Paulo.
Since its passage in 2009, State Law No. 13.577/09 has lacked effective implementing regulations. The law was partially regulated by State Decree No. 54.544/09, now repealed, which provided guidelines and procedures for businesses engaged in polluting activities to provide compensation for damages caused to groundwater and soil by their activities.
The new decree, beyond addressing matters not regulated by former State Decree 54.544/09, embraces procedures already adopted by the State of São Paulo and State of São Paulo Environmental Agency (Companhia Ambiental do Estado de São Paulo - "CETESB").
CETESB is responsible for the inspection of suspected contaminated areas and also for administering the System of Rehabilitated Contaminated Areas (i.e., the system containing information about contaminated and rehabilitated areas within the State of São Paulo).
The System of Rehabilitated Contaminated Areas includes the actual Register of Contaminated Areas and other information regarding such areas, and aims to facilitate environmental management through serving as a public data base for important environmental matters within the state. The system does not, it must be noted, reveal confidential data about sites.
State Decree No. 59.263/13 requires that a list containing all areas classified as contaminated be published in Brazil′s Official Gazette on an annual basis. This information must also be available at the official CETESB website (www.cetesb.sp.gov.br).
The decree also foresees environmental insurance as a mandatory instrument to help businesses protect soil quality and manage contaminated areas. It must be noted, however, that no insurer has yet entered this market and the new provision will not become mandatory until such time as insurance becomes available. This aspect of the new regulation must be analyzed carefully.
Regarding administrative penalties and infractions, State Decree No. 59.263/13 requires CETESB to report to the State of São Paulo Public Prosecutor′s Office environmental irregularities of which it becomes aware. Reported incidents will be investigated for the possible imposition of criminal or civil liability.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.