Bill To Ban Hydraulic Fracturing In Mexico - Environment - Mondaq Mexico - Mondaq Business Briefing - Books and Journals - VLEX 807625933

Bill To Ban Hydraulic Fracturing In Mexico

Author:Mr Rogelio Lopez-Velarde, Jorge Jiménez, Amanda Valdez and Diego Campa
Profession:Dentons
 
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Senators from the Morena (Moviento de Regeneración Nacional) political party, have submitted a bill to enact the General Law to Ban Hydraulic Fracturing (Ley General para la Prohibición de la Fractura Hidráulica) (the "Bill"). The Bill is sponsored, among others, by the Chairman of the Mexican Senate, Mr. Martí Batres, who is very close to President López Obrador (who, in turn, is openly opposed to the development of hydraulic fracturing activities in Mexico).

The Bill's explanatory memorandum starts by criticizing the energy policy adopted by the Mexican government in the 90s to move away from coal, fuel oil and diesel, and instead generate electricity from natural gas (in light of the efficiencies brought by combined cycle power generation). In a nutshell, this criticism is based on the lack of development of natural gas projects by Pemex and the Mexican government during that period.

This explanatory memorandum moves on to describe hydraulic fracturing, emphasizing the negative aspects of this technique, including the use of a "cocktail" of ~750 chemicals in the proppants used. It further elaborates on the massive amounts of water used, and the absence of regulation to dispose such water.

The Bill also elaborates and briefly describes the negative social and environmental aspects of hydraulic fracturing, including the GHG impacts that venting and uncontrolled emissions from these projects have on the environment.

Finally, the Bill cites multiple reports (some of which are 10 or 15 years old) to elaborate on: (a) the negative environmental and health impacts this technique has had in the United States and other jurisdictions, and (b) the economic unfeasibility of these projects in Mexico.

As to the proposed legislation itself, below are the main points:

Establishes a general -nationwide- ban on hydraulic fracturing in any hydrocarbons exploration and exploitation activities. In other words, it does not distinguish conventional from unconventional resources; Seeks to establish the "Precautionary Principle" which establishes that the absence of scientific certainty over certain technological processes representing a harm to the environment or the public health, is reason enough to establish a ban and/or stop their development; Grants the Ministry of Energy (Secretaría de Energía) ("SENER") and not the National Hydrocarbons Commission (Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos) ("CNH") or other environmental agencies, the authority to enforce...

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