• 16 January 2020

SOLCARGO obtains favorable ruling from the Supreme Court of Justice regarding human right to a healthy environment to leave without effect the modification to the NOM-016-CRE-2016 regarding oil and polluting additives.

The Mexican Supreme Court granted an amparo to not allow the modification of the maximum limits of ethanol as an oxygenating agent in gasoline, stating that such permit implies the degradation of the air quality in Mexico and is contrary to the human right to a healthy environment.

By means of the resolution of the amparo en revision 610/2019, the Second Chamber of the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice declared the unconstitutionality of the “AGREEMENT of the Energy Regulatory Commission that modifies the Official Mexican Standard NOM-016-CRE-2016, Specifications of oil quality, based on Article 51 of the Metrology and Standardization Federal Law” published in the Official Gazette of the Federation on June 26, 2017 (the“ Modification Agreement ”), which allowed the increase of the maximum percentage of ethanol as an oxygenating agent in gasolines up to 10%.

The decision of the Supreme Court comes from the fact that the Energy Regulatory Commission unilaterally modified the NOM-016-CRE-2016, without following the legal process to create official Mexican standards. The Second Chamber determined that, when the degradation to the air quality that would involve the use of ethanol in gasoline is debated, the precautionary principle in environmental law must prevail, this principle enforces the authorities to scientifically assess the possible damages which would be generate by the increase in ethanol in gasoline to the environment.

In addition, the Supreme Court highlighted that the economic benefits adduced by the Energy Regulatory Commission to increase the percentage of ethanol in gasoline cannot be above the human right to a healthy environment and to international obligations regarding greenhouse gases and climate change, but must be weighted and confronted.

The effects of the amparo will be the invalidity of the Modification Agreement and the maintenance of the maximum limit of ethanol as an oxygenator in gasoline at 5.8% as originally established by NOM-016-CRE-2016; however, the Supreme Court of Justice granted a period of 180 calendar days for third parties to market gasoline with a maximum level of 10% ethanol, in order to not to affect previously acquired rights and obligations.

It is an historical resolution on favor of the environment and in matters of challenging general regulations through amparo proceedings; in addition, this resolution enforces the right to a healthy environment and it´s protection in front of economic competition.

If you require more information regarding the content of this note, please contact the Team Members:

Juan Machado (juan.machado@solcargo.mx).

Pilar Galván (pilar.galván@solcargo.mx).

Carlos del Razo (carlos.delrazo@solcargo.mx).

Biuludani Altamirano (biuludani.altamirano@solcargo.mx).