Disculpa, pero esta entrada está disponible sólo en Inglés Estadounidense. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

Translation:  Law 41 (July 1, 1998)

All material included in the Gray & Co. web sites is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. The information should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. The material contained herein is not offered as legal or any other advice on any particular matter.  This information has been provided to help you stay informed, and is not intended to replace legal or professional advice.  While we make every effort to make sure that the information provided is accurate and useful, we recommend that you consult a lawyer or law firm if you want professional assurance that this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.  

This translation of Law 41 has been prepared by Beth Anne Gray J. ©

Law 41 (July 1, 1998)

Published in Gazette 23,578 of the 3rd of July, 1998

Whereby the General Environmental Law of the Republic of Panama is adopted and the National Environmental Authority is created 

THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY DECREES:
Title I
The Goals, Objectives and Basic Definitions
Chapter I
Goals and Objectives

Article 1. The management of the environment is the State’s obligation; therefore, this Law establishes the basic principles and rules for the protection, conservation and recuperation of the environment, promoting the sustainable use of the natural resources.  Furthermore, it directs environmental management and integrates it with social and economic objectives with a view to achieving sustainable human development in the country. 

Chapter II

Basic Definitions

Article 2. This Law and its regulations, for all legal effects, shall have effect with the following terms and meanings: 

Environmental adequacy. Management or correctional actions destined to make an activity, building or project compatible with the environment, or so that it does not alter it significantly.  

Environment. Entirety or system of natural and artificial elements of a physical, chemical, biological or cultural nature, in constant interaction and permanent modification by human or natural actions, which regulate and condition the existence and development of life in its multiple manifestations. 

Ecological aptitude.  The capacity that ecosystems of an area or region have to sustain the development of activities, without affecting their trophic structure, biological diversity and materials cycles. 

Protected Area. A geographical land, coastal, marine or lake area, so declared legally, to satisfy objectives of conservation, recreation, education, or investigation of the natural and cultural resources. 

Environmental audit.  Systematic methodology of evaluation of an activity, building or project, to determine its impact on the environment; compare the level of compliance with the environment and determine the criteria for application of the environmental legislation.  May be obligatory or voluntary, as established by the Law or its regulations. 

Competent or specialised Authority. Public institution which, by legal mandate, holds the powers, the authority and the specialised functions, related to partial or component aspects of the environment or with the sustainable management of the natural resources. 

National Environmental Authority.  Autonomous public entity which exercises the powers, authority and functions assigned to it by this Law and by the corresponding specialised laws. 

Self regulation.  Action by the interested party in an activity, building or project, of self-regulation, according to the established programs, to fulfil the environmental rules without the direct intervention of the State. 

Self-supervision and control.  Planned, systematic and complete activity of the supervision by the interested party in the activity, building or project, of the effluents, emissions, wastes and environmental impacts, generated by the environmental impact.

Environmental balance. Actions equivalent to the diminishment of emissions or environmental impacts, permitted by the Law to compensate for the effects caused to the environment and in compliance with the environmental rules. 

Compliance bond.  A monetary deposit in a time deposit or other account, made by the person undertaking an activity, building or project, to guarantee the fulfilment of their legal and contractual obligations, related to the environmental impacts of the activity, building or project. 

Environmental quality. Ecological structures or processes which permit sustainable or rational development, conservation of the biological diversity and the improvement of the standard of living of the human population. 

Quality of life. Level at which the members of a human community satisfy their material and spiritual needs.  This classification is based on the indicators of basic satisfaction and through value judgments. 

Assimilation ability. The ability of the environment and its component parts to absorb and assimilate discharges, effluents, or wastes, without affecting its essential ecological functions nor threatening human health or other living things.

Charge capacity. The environmental characteristic to absorb or support external agents, without deteriorating such that its regeneration ability is affected, or affecting its natural renovation in normal periods and conditions or significantly reducing its ecological functions.

Contamination charges.  Assessments for contamination units, based on the level of resulting damage to the environment, which must be paid by the person responsible for the activity, building or project, in compensation for the damage caused. 

Charges for presumed contamination. Assessments for contamination based on estimated and not detected contamination.  These are estimated based on the average contamination of high production units in the industry, or on technological coefficients and generation times, for each contaminating source. 

Charges for improvements to the property.  Percentage of the economic benefit, attributed to the appreciation in the value of the property, determined as a result of the public investment, including conservation of forests or other natural ecosystems.

Information centre. Information unit where the systematised database is found. 

Administrative concession. Contract whereby a city council, provincial government, association, foundation or private company is granted the power to undertake management, conservation, protection and development activities in a protected area, autonomously. 

Services concession. Contract whereby a city council, provincial government, association, foundation or private company is granted the power to provide any type of service in a protected area. 

Conservation.  Totality of human activities aimed at guaranteeing the sustainable use of the environment, including measures for the preservation, maintenance, rehabilitation, restoration, management and improvement of the natural resources in the environment.

Public consideration.  Activity in which the National Environmental Authority informs the citizens, for a limited time, of the environmental impact studies of high magnitude, impact or risk, so that they may present their relevant observations and recommendations relating to the projects. 

Contamination. Presence, in the environment, through mankind’s actions, of any chemical substance, object, particles, microorganisms, energy forms or urban or rural landscape components, at levels or proportions which negatively alter the environment or threaten human, fauna or flora wholeness or the ecosystems. 

Contaminant.  Any chemical or biological element or substance, energy, radiation, vibration, noise, fluid or combination thereof, present at levels or concentrations which represent a danger to the security and health of humans, animals, flora or the environment. 

Exchangeable environmental credit. Credit generated by not utilizing all of a contaminating quota or by voluntary environmental improvements which exceed the legal requirements and prevent contamination.  These credits may be used for application, sale or negotiation with third parties, in accordance with the Law and its regulations. 

Exchangeable forestry credit. Credit obtained by the owners of private lands in critical or fragile areas, as established by law, which are maintained under forest management.  This credit is exchangeable and may be negotiated with third parties to be used to cover their environmental obligations, according to the Law and its regulations. 

Compliance timeline.  Environmental action plans, defined by the National Environmental Authority, to undertake the application and gradual adjustment to new environmental rules and policies.

Environmental Impact Declaration. Document which is the first step in the presentation of an environmental impact study, which has the description of the project and general information, such as the location, environmental characteristics, foreseeable physical, economic and social impacts, as well as the measures to prevent and mitigate the various impacts. 

Sustainable development right.  Compensation instrument which is granted to a property owner for protecting a natural resource, completing or partially, established by the law for the conservation or use of the soil.  The sustainable development rights may be acquired to compensate for environmental damage or to obtain environmental credits or use of the soil.

Sustainable development.  The process or capacity of the human community to satisfy the needs and current social, cultural, political, environmental and economic aspirations, of its members, without compromising the capacity of future generations to satisfy theirs. 

Environmental disasters. Unleashed phenomena, between the extremes, because of the interaction of natural or induced risks and dangers, which negatively affect the environment. 

Wastes or residue.  Material generated or remnants from productive processes or consumption which is not utilisable. 

Hazardous Wastes. Wastes or residue which affects human health, including those classified as dangerous in the international conventions ratified by the Republic of Panama or in laws or special rules. 

Biological diversity or biodiversity.  The variability of live organisms of any source, including, among others, land and marine ecosystems.  These are found in each species, between species and between ecosystems. 

Environmental impact study. Document which describes the characteristics of a human action and which provides reasoned background for the prediction, identification and interpretation of environmental impact, and describes, also, the measures to avoid, reduce, compensate and control adverse significant impacts. 

Environmental impact evaluation.  Early warning systems which operate through a process of continual analysis and which, through an organised, coherent, and reproducible system of background information, allows preventative decisions to be made about the protection of the environment.

Swamps. Extensions of bogs, marshes and peat or surfaces covered in water, whether natural or artificial creations, permanent or temporary, standing or flowing, fresh, mixed or salt water, including their adjacent banks or coastal zones, as well as the islands or areas of salt water deeper than six metres at low tide, when these are within the swamp areas. 

Environmental impact.   Negative or positive alteration of the natural or modified environment as a result of development activities which may affect the existence of human life, as well as the renewable or non-renewable natural resources of the area.  

Collective interest.  Non-individual interest which corresponds to one or more collectivities or groups of people organised and identified, with respect to the same objective or characteristic. 

Widespread interest.  That which is spread through a body of people, corresponding to each of the members, and which does not result from property titles, rights or other real actions. 

Permissible limits.  Technical rules, parameters, and values, established for the purpose of protecting human health, environmental quality or the integrity of their component parts. 

Environmental mitigation measures. Design and execution of projects or activities aimed at voiding, diminishing, minimising or compensating for the impacts and negative effects that a project, building or activity may generate on the human or natural environment. 

Environmental absorption rules.  Regulation of the maximum and minimum levels permitted according to the capacity that the environment has to assimilate or incorporate the components into itself. 

Environmental emission rules. Rules which establish the quantity of maximum emissions permitted of a contaminant, measured at the source of the emission. 

Environmental arrangement of the national territory.  Planning, evaluation and control process, aimed at identifying and programming human activities compatible with the use and management of natural resources in the national territory, respecting the charge capacity of the natural environment, to preserve and restore the ecological balance and protect the environment, as well as to guarantee the wellbeing of the population. 

Preservation.  Group of pre-existing provisions and measures to maintain the status quo in natural areas. 

Protection.  Group of measures and policies to improve the natural environment, prevent and combat its threats and avoid deterioration. 

Prospecting and biological exploration.  Exploration of natural native areas in search of species, genes or chemical substances derived from biological resources, to obtain medicinal, biotechnical or other products. 

Environmental recognition or base line.  Detailed description of the area of influence of a project, building or activity prior to execution.  Forms part of the environmental impact study.

Genetic resources.  Group of hereditary molecules in organisms, whose principal function is the generational transfer of information of the natural inheritance of living things.  This presentation results in the group of cells and tissue that form each living thing. 

Hydro-biological resources.   Aquatic ecosystems and species that live, temporarily o permanently, in marine or landlocked waters over which the Republic of Panama has jurisdiction. 

Coastal-marine resources.  Are those which are found in the territorial seas, swamps, submarine continental platforms, coasts, bays, estuaries, mangroves, coral reefs, submarine vegetation, scenic beauty, biotic and abiotic resources in such waters, as well as the coastal border two hundred metres wide from the high tide mark, parallel to the coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 

Strict liability.  Obligation of the person that damages or contaminates, directly or indirectly, people, the environment, or things, to redress the damages caused. 

Environmental risk.  Potential of an action of any type which, because of its location, characteristics and effects, has the possibility of causing damage to the environment and ecosystems. 

Health risk.  Potential of an activity, with certain or foreseeable possibility to, upon performance, have adverse effects upon human health. 

Environmental health.  Scope of acts that regulate and control the measures to guarantee that the health of humans is not affected, directly or indirectly, by natural or man made factors, within the environment in which humans live or develop.

Follow up and control.  Supervision of the environmental state during the development of a project, building or activity, from start to finish, to ensure that the mitigation or conservation measures are undertaken and verification of the possibility that new impacts appear during the execution of the project, building or activity.

Community. Group of natural and legal persons, holding a collective or widespread interest according to this Law, which express their public and social participation in local or national life. 

Potentially Hazardous Substances.  Those which, by their use or physical, chemical, biological or toxic properties, o by their oxidising, infectious, explosive, spontaneous combustion, inflammatory, poisonous, irritability, or corrosive characteristics, may put in danger human health, ecosystems or the environment. 

Assessments for waste discharge.  Obligatory payments for discharging solid or liquid wastes in treatment sites or systems. 

User assessment.  Obligatory payments made by the user of natural resources, infrastructure or public services, to incorporate the environmental costs, whether through replacement or exhausting through the use of said resources. 

Environmental viability.  Description regarding the important effects of a project on the environmental, whether positive or negative, direct or indirect, permanent or temporary and accumulative in the short, medium and long term.  Proposes actions with positive effects and equivalent to the adverse impact identified. 

Title II

The National Environmental Policy 

Chapter I

Strategies, principles and guidelines

Article 3.  The national environmental policy is the group of measures, strategies and actions established by the State, which orient, condition and determine the behaviour of public and private sector, economic agents and the general public, in the conservation, use, management and utilization of the natural resources and environment. 

The Executive Branch, with the advice from the National Environmental Council, shall approve, promote, and oversee the national environmental policy, as part of the public policy for the economic and social development of the country.

Article 4.  The following are principles and guidelines of the national environmental policy: 

  1. Endow the public, as the State’s duty, with a healthy and adequate environment for life and sustainable development. 

  2. Define governmental and non-governmental actions in the local, regional and national ambit, which guarantee the efficient and effective intersectorial coordination, for the protection, conservation, improvement and restoration of environmental quality

  3. Incorporation the environmental dimension into economic, social and cultural decisions, actions and strategies of the State, as well as to integrate the national environmental policy into public policies of the State. 

  4. Stimulate and promote environmentally sustainable behaviour and the use of clean technology, as well as to support the establishment of a recycling and reusing of goods market as a means to reduce the levels of accumulation of waste and contaminants to the environment. 

  5. Give priority to the mechanisms and instructions for prevention of contamination and environmental restoration, in public and private management of the environment, divulging timely information to promote a change of attitude. 

  6. Give priority and favour the instruments and mechanisms for promotion, stimulation and incentives, in the process of conversion from the productive system to styles that are compatible with the principles enunciated in this Law. 

  7. Include, in the conditions of granting to individuals rights over natural resources, the obligation to ecologically compensate for the natural resources used and establish, for such purposes, an economic value to such resources, which takes into account their social and conservation costs.

  8. Promote mechanisms of conflict resolution, such as mediation, arbitration, conciliation and public hearings. 

  9. Assign the resources to ensure the economic viability of the national environmental policy.   

Title III

The Administrative Organisation of the State for Environmental Management

Chapter I

National Environmental Authority 

Article 5.  The National Environmental Authority is created as an autonomous directing entity of the State with respect to natural resources and the environment, to ensure compliance and application of the laws, regulations and national environmental policy. 

The National Environmental Authority shall be under the direction of an Administrator or General Administrator and an Assistant Administrator or Assistant General Administrator, appointed by the President of the Republic, who shall meet the following requirements: 

  1. Be a Panamanian citizen and of legal age. 

  2. Not have any convictions for common crimes or those against public assets. 

  3. Have a university degree and qualification in a specialty, in environmental and natural resources, with no less than five years experience. 

  4. Be ratified by the Legislative Assembly. 

Article 6.  The National Environmental Authority in the area of its responsibilities, shall be represented, before the Executive Branch, through the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Article 7.  The National Environmental Authority shall have the following attributes: 

  1. Formulate the national environmental policy and the use of the national resources, according the development plans of the State. 

  2. Direct, supervise and implement the execution of environmental policies, strategies and programs of government, together with the Inter-Institutional Environmental System and private organisations.  

  3. Dictate environmental standards of emissions, absorption, procedures and products, with the participation of the corresponding competent authority as the case may be. 

  4. Prepare law projects (bills) for the due consideration by the corresponding instances. 

  5. Issue resolutions and technical and administrative standards for the execution of the national environmental policy and the renewable natural resources, overseeing their execution, to prevent the deterioration of the environment. 

  6. Enforce this Law, its regulation, the environmental quality standards and the technical and administrative provisions that by law are assigned to them. 

  7. Represent the Republic of Panama, before national and international organisations, according to their competence, and assume all the representations and functions that at the entering into effect of this Law, are currently assigned to the National Institute of Renewal Natural Resources (INRENARE). 

  8. Promote and facilitate the execution of environmental projects, as appropriate, through public and private sector organisations. 

  9. Dictate the scope, guidelines and terms of reference for the preparation and presentation of the environmental impact declarations, evaluations and studies

  10. Evaluate the environmental impact studies and issue the respective resolutions. 

  11. Promote community’s participation and the application of this Law and its regulations, in the formation and execution of environmental policies, strategies and programs as appropriate. 

  12. Promote the transfer to local authorities of the responsibilities relative to natural resources and the environment within their territories and technically support the city councils in the local environmental management. 

  13. Promote technical and scientific environmental investigation, in coordination with the National Secretary of Science and Technology and other specialised institutions. 

  14. Cooperate in the elaboration and execution of environmental education programs, whether formal or informal, in coordination with the Ministry of Education and other specialised institutions. 

  15. Create and maintain accessible and updated databases relating to the environment and the sustainable use of the natural resources, through studies; provide information and analysis to provide technical advice and support to the National Environmental Council, as well as the provincial, reservation and district environmental councils.

  16. Prepare an annual report of the environmental management and present it to the Executive Branch. 

  17. Charge for the services provided to public entities, mixed or private companies, or natural persons for the development of profit making activities. 

  18. The relationship of the Authority with natural or legal persons which are dedicated to not-for-profit activities shall be established by conventions. 

  19. Impose sanctions and fines, in accordance with this Law, the regulations and complementary provisions. 

  20. All others that correspond or may be assigned by this Law, the regulations or other laws.  

Article 8.  The National Environmental Authority shall be a permanent institution, with territorial jurisdiction and a budget to fulfil the responsibilities assigned to it. 

The National Environmental Authority is empowered to create and organise the administrative structure necessary to fulfil the mandates of this Law.

Article 9. The National Environmental Authority may convene for public consideration on those environmental matters or problems which, due to their importance, should be submitted to the consideration of the public.  The mechanisms and respective authorities that will attend to the environmental matters or problems will be established by regulations. 

Article 10.  The National Environmental Authority shall coordinate, together with the Interoceanic Region Authority, during the period which the latter exists, all activities relating to the integral management and sustainable development of the natural resources of the reverted areas or the interoceanic region.

Article 11.  The Administrator or General Administrator shall be the legal representative of the National Environmental Authority and shall have the following responsibilities: 

  1. Direct and administer the National Environmental Authority.

  2. Prepare the budget proposals and the annual activities plan for the National Environmental Authority. 

  3. Execute the policies, plans, strategies, programs and projects which are the jurisdiction of the National Environmental Authority. 

  4. Present to the Executive Branch the structure and organisation of the National Environmental Authority, as well as the regulations of this Law. 

  5. Represent the Republic of Panama before the regional and international environmental organisations, and coordinate, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the follow up actions and fulfilment of the international conventions and treaties regarding the environment, within its jurisdiction, approved and ratified by the Republic of Panama. 

  6. Direct and coordinate the Inter-Institutional Environmental System, as well as the provincial, reservation and city environmental councils. 

  7. Delegate responsibilities. 

  8. Authorise the acts, financial operations, contracts and transactions, with natural or legal persons, for the fulfilment of the objectives of the National Environmental Authority, up to the sum of One Million Balboas (B/. 1,000,000.00). 

  9. Appoint, transfer, promote, suspend, grant leaves, remove subordinate staff and impose sanctions as the case may be, according to the evidenced breaches. 

  10. Grant concessions of assets of the State with respect to renewable natural resources. 

  11. Promote training and coaching programs to personnel and select those who will participate in such programs, according to the priorities of the Authority. 

  12. Buy, sell, rent and negotiate with assets of any kind; grant concessions, hire specialised technical staff, construct buildings and plan or execute programs, according to the applicable legal provisions. 

  13. Undertake all other responsibilities assigned by law. 

Article 12.  The Assistant Administrator shall collaborate with the Administrator or General Administrator of the environment and shall replace him/her in his/her accidental or temporary absences and shall assume such responsibilities as may be assigned or delegated to them. 

Article 13.  The National Environmental Authority shall have coercive jurisdiction for the collection of funds due thereto.  This coercive jurisdiction of the National Environmental Authority shall be exercised by the Administrator or the General Administrator and may be delegated to another public servant in the institution. 

Chapter II

National Environmental Council 

Article 14.  The National Environmental Council is hereby created, which shall have the following responsibilities: 

  1. Recommend the national environmental policy and the sustainable use of natural resources to the Cabinet. 

  2. Promote and support the National Environmental Authority in the coordination of the Inter-Institutional Environmental System, to guarantee the execution of the national environmental policy for sustainable development

  3. Approve and supervise the implementation of environmental strategies, plans and programs of national policies. 

  4. Approve the annual and extraordinary budget of the National Environmental Authority. 

  5. Assist in the incorporation of the environmental dimension in the context of public policy, in coordination with the National Council of Sustainable Development. 

  6. Consult with the National Consulting Commission for the Environment. 

  7. Impose sanctions from one million and one Balboas (B/. 1,000,001.00) to ten million Balboas (B/.10,000,000.00). 

  8. Set the rates for the used of hydro resources, proposed by the Administrator of the National Environmental Authority. 

Article 15.  The National Environmental Council shall be composed of three Ministers of State, designated by the President of the Republic.  They shall meet quarterly and everything regarding the settling and operation of the members, shall be established by regulations. 

Chapter III

Inter-Institutional Environmental System 

Article 16.  The public sector institutions with environmental jurisdiction shall form part of the Inter-Institutional Environmental System and, as such, shall establish coordination, consultation and execution mechanisms, following the guidelines of the National Environmental Authority which regulate the System, with a view to harmonising the policies, avoiding conflicts or voids between jurisdictions and respond, coherently and efficiently, to the objectives and goals of this Law and the guidelines of the national environmental policy. 

Article 17.  The National Environmental Authority shall create and coordinate a network of environmental sector units, composed of the respective environmental units of the competent authorities, organised or self-organising as bodies for consultation, analysis and cross-sector coordination for the evaluation of the environmental impact studies.  

Chapter IV

National Environmental Consulting Commission

Article 18.  The National Environmental Consulting Commission is hereby created as a consultative body of the National Environmental Authority, for making decision of national or cross-sector importance, which may also issue recommendations to the National Environmental Council. 

Article 19.  The National Environmental Consulting Commission shall be composed of no more than fifteen members, which shall represent government, community and the reservations.  With respect to community, they shall be designated by the President of the Republic from a group of three candidates selected for such purpose.  In the case of the reservations, the representative shall be designated by the President of the Republic from a group of three candidates selected for such purpose.

Article 20.  The National Environmental Consulting Commission shall be chaired by the Administrator or the Assistant Administrator or Assistant General Administrator of the Environment, and everything regarding the integration, settlement and procedures shall be established in its regulations. 

Chapter V

Consultative Provincial, Reservation and District Environmental Commissions with the Participation of Community 

Article 21.  The consultative provincial, reservation and district environmental commissions, in which community shall have participation, are hereby created to analyse environmental issues and to make observations, recommendations and proposals to the Regional Environmental Administrator, who shall act as the secretary of said commissions. 

These commissions shall be set up as follows: 

  1. Provincial.  By the Governor, who will chair; by the Technical Board, representatives of the Provincial Coordination Council and representatives of community from the area. 

  2. Reservations.  By the representative of the Indigenous General Congress, who will chair;  by representatives of the Indigenous General Congress, representatives of the Reservation Coordination Council, the Technical Board and representatives of the community from the area. 

  3. District.  By the mayor, who will chair; by the City Council representatives and representatives of the community from the area. 

Title IV

The Environmental Management Instruments

Chapter I

Environmental Organisation of the National Territory 

Article 22.  The National Environmental Authority shall promote the establishment of environmental organisation in the national territory and shall oversee the use of the space with respect to its ecological, social and cultural aptitudes, its capacity for holding, the inventory of renewable and non-renewable natural resources and the need for development, in coordination with the competent authorities.  The environmental organisation of the national territory shall be undertaken in a progressive manner by the competent authorities, to cultivate actions which tend to improve the quality of life.  The activities which are authorised should not affect the priority use or function of the respective area, identified in the Environmental Organisation Program of the National Territory. 

Chapter II

Environmental Impact Evaluation Process

Article 23.  The activities, buildings or projects, whether public or private, which by their nature, characteristics, effects, location or resources may generate an environmental risk, shall require an environmental impact study before starting, in accordance with the regulation of this Law.  These activities, buildings or projects, shall be submitted to an environmental impact evaluation process, including those which are undertaken in the Canal basin or indigenous reservations. 

Article 24.  The environmental impact evaluation process shall be comprised of the following stages: 

  1. Presentation, before the National Environmental Authority, of an environmental impact study, where the activities, building or project are listed in the exhaustive list  of the regulations of this Law. 

  2. The evaluation of the environmental impact study and its approval, as appropriate, by the National Environmental Authority, of the study so presented. 

  3. The follow up, control, supervision, and evaluation of the execution of the Environmental Adequacy and Management Program (PAMA) and the approval resolution. 

Article 25.  The content of the environmental impact study shall be established by the National Environmental Authority, in coordination with the competent authorities and published in the respective procedural manual. 

Article 26.  The environmental impact studies shall be prepared by qualified natural or legal persons, independent from the developer of the activity, building or project, duly certified by the National Environmental Authority. 

Article 27.  The National Environmental Authority shall make public the presentation of the environmental impact study, for the consideration of the public, and shall grant a period for comments regarding the proposed activity, building or project, which shall be established in the regulations in accordance with the complexity of the project, building or activity. 

Article 28.  For all activity, building or project of the State which, in accordance with this Law and its regulations, needs an environmental impact study, the public institution developing the same shall include, in its budget, the resources required to fulfil the obligation to prepare and assume the costs required for compliance with the Environmental Adequacy and Management Program

Article 29.  Once the environmental impact study has been received, the National Environmental Authority shall proceed to analyse, approve or reject it.  The term for fulfilment, extending and presenting the environmental impact studies shall be established by regulation of this Law. 

Article 30.  Upon failure to present or breach of the execution of the environmental impact study, the National Environmental Authority may freeze the project activities and impose the corresponding sanctions. 

Article 31. The decisions of the National Environmental Council or the National Environmental Authority, according to their respective jurisdictions, may be reconsidered, which will be considered final administrative recourse. 

Chapter III

Environmental Quality Standards 

Article 32.  The National Environmental Authority shall direct the process of the preparation of the environmental quality standards, with the participation of the competent authorities and the community. 

Article 33.  The environmental standards which are issued shall be applied by the competent authority, in a gradual and escalating scale, preferably based on self-regulating processes and voluntary compliance by the companies, in accordance with the respective regulations. 

Article 34. The environmental quality standards are of strict compliance in all of the national territory, and the competent authorities, reservations, city councils and community shall participate in their enforcement. 

Article 35.  The Executive Branch shall issue interim environmental quality standards, with a view to recovering critical environmental zones or overcome fortuitous situations in the case of disasters.  The establishment of these limits shall not preclude the approval of other technical standards, parameters, guidelines, or directions, aimed as preventing environmental deterioration. 

Article 36.  The executive decrees that establish environmental quality standards shall establish the implementation time line, which shall include period of up to three years to get effluent, emissions or environmental impacts in line; and up to eight years, to undertake acts or introduce changes in the processes or technologies in order to meet these standards.  The city council authorities may dictate standards within the framework of this Law, which shall respect the Constitution, national contracts and shall be counter-signed by the National Environmental Authority. 

Those companies which fulfil the time line before the stipulated time periods may take advantage of the exchangeable environmental credit, according to the Law and its regulation. 

Article 37.  The National Environmental Authority shall coordinate, with the competent authorities, the preparation and execution of environmental prevention and decontamination plans, for zones which are very sensitive or which surpass the emissions limits and shall oversee compliance with said plans. 

Article 38.  The National Environmental Authority shall review all economic instruments and the environmental regulation, at least every five years, to update these as necessary.  In determining new quality levels, the principles of graduation shall be applied, permitting progressive adjustment to those levels. 

Article 39. The State, through the National Environmental Authority, shall establish the parameters for the certification of processes and environmentally friendly products, in coordination and the participation of the competent authorities, for private institutions or third parties, which meet the required standards.  In the certification process regarding contaminating emissions, by economic units, the National Environmental Authority shall recognise the exchange of credits between such units. 

Chapter IV

Supervision, Control and Environmental Compliance 

Article 40.  The supervision, control and compliance of the procedural activities of the environmental impact studies, shall be subject to the presentation of an Environmental Adequacy and Management Program and compliance with the environmental standards.  This is an inherent function of the National Environmental Authority, which shall be jointly exercised with the competent authority in accordance with the regulations, as the case may be. 

Article 41.  The environmental inspections and audits may be random and according to programs approved by the National Environmental Authority, and shall only be undertaken by natural or legal persons duly certified by the Authority. Those who provide environmental inspection or auditing services shall be subject, for these purposes, to the responsibilities foreseen the current legislation. 

Article 42.  The Comptroller General of the Republic may undertake environmental audits, in those activities, buildings or projects which are undertaken with public funds or State assets. 

Article 43.  The National Environmental Authority shall coordinate, with the competent authority, the preparation and execution of follow up programs for environmental quality, to oversee compliance with the established standards.  The regulations shall develop the follow up and control mechanisms within the Inter-Institutional System referred to in article 16 of this Law. 

Article 44.  The owners of activities, buildings, or projects which are underway at the moment that environmental standards which are issued enter into effect, may undertake an environmental audit with the express commitment of fulfilling the Environmental Adequacy and Management Program which results from such audit, which shall require the prior approval of the National Environmental Authority.  In this case, which the audit is being undertaken and while the Environmental Adequacy and Management Program is in effect, they shall be subject only to the environmental standards and parameters indicated in the Program. 

Chapter V

Environmental Information

Article 45.  The Environmental Information National System’s purpose is to compile, systematise and distribute the State’s environmental information, between the organisations and departments, public or private, in a suitable, true and timely manner, regarding the topics which form part of the System.  This environmental information is openly available.  Private parties that request such information shall assume the cost of the service. 

Article 46.  The National Environmental Authority shall prepare, at the end of each government office period, a report of the state of the environment, according to the format and content which is established in the regulations.  For such purposes, the Environmental Information National System shall provide the National Environmental Authority, in a timely manner, the required information.

Article 47.  The National Environmental Authority, together with the competent authority, shall organise an information centre with a database with all environmental quality standards, related to commercial, farming and industrial activities. 

Chapter VI

Environmental Education

Article 48.  The State shall publish information or programs about environmental conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources, as well as promote educational and cultural activities of an environmental nature, to contribute to complementing civic values and morals in Panamanian society.  The media may offer their assistance to fulfil that proposed in this article. 

Article 49.  The National Environmental Authority shall coordinate with the Ministry of Education and shall support it in the application of Law 10 of 1992, particularly in the establishment of the Transversal Axis Point of Environmental Education in the community. 

Article 50.  The National Environmental Authority shall grant, where merited, environmental recognitions to natural or legal persons who dedicate their efforts to environmental education. 

Chapter VII

Scientific and Technological Investigation Program 

Article 51.  The State shall encourage scientific and technological investigation programs applicable in the environmental field, both publicly and privately, to have better elements for an informed decision in national environmental management. 

Article 52.  The National Environmental Authority shall assist in the preparation and execution of the Permanent Scientific and Technological Investigation Program, aimed at taking care of the environmental and natural resource management. 

Chapter VIII

Disasters and Environmental Emergencies

Article 53.  The State and the community shall adopt measures to prevent and face environmental disasters, as well as to immediately inform of such an event.

The National Environmental Authority shall oversee that contingency plans exist and shall assist in their implementation, which shall be undertaken by competent authorities and the community in the case of disasters. 

Article 54.  The State shall declare an environmental emergency in zones affected by environmental disasters, when the magnitude and effects of the disaster so merit.  In these cases, special help measures, assistance and mobilising human and financial resources shall be adopted, among other things, in order to assist the affected community and reverse the deterioration caused. 

Chapter IX

National Environmental Account

Article 55.  The State shall evaluate, in economic, social and ecological terms, the environmental and natural assets of the Nation, and establish the value of said assets, as a complimentary calculation to the National Account.  Every project which requires the partial or total use of State resources or which requires an environmental impact study, the evaluation of the cost-benefit of the activity or project relative to the value of the environment shall be undertaken. 

Title V

Protection of Health and Hazardous Wastes and Potentially Hazardous Substances

Chapter I

Environmental Health

Article 56.  The Ministry of Health is the authority charged with regulating, overseeing, controlling and penalising everything regarding guaranteeing human health.  Likewise, from the perspective of environmental health, it will coordinate with the National Environmental Authority the technical and administrative measures so that any environmental changes do not directly affect human health.

Chapter II

Hazardous Wastes and Potentially Hazardous Substances

Article 57.  The State shall create the legal and financial conditions for public or private investment in waste water treatment plants, to recycle it, insofar as this does not affect public health or the natural ecosystem.  The State shall regulate such services. 

Article 58.  The State shall, through the competent authorities, regulate and control the differentiated management of domestic, industrial and hazardous waste, at all stages, including generation, collection, transport, recycling and final disposal.  The State shall establish the assessments for these services. 

Article 59.  The National Environmental Authority shall support the Ministry of Health in the application of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, the Regional Accord regarding Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes, the Montreal Protocol and any other that the Republic of Panama is signatory to.  To these ends, both institutions shall establish a joint program, to ensure that these substances do not exist, are not imported, distributed or utilised in the Republic of Panama. 

Article 60.  The State, through the competent authorities, may adopt the measures to ensure that potentially hazardous substances are handled without putting at risk human health and the environment, for which they shall be subject to registration prior to their commercial distribution or use.  In the registration processes of such substances, the competent authority shall keep the National Environmental Authority informed. 

The competent authority may award, by contract, to city councils, provincial governments, associations, foundations, and private companies, the management and disposal of potentially hazardous substances, according to prior studies.  The procedure for contracts and other activities shall be regulated by the respective regulations. 

Article 61.  The competent authorities for the registration or certification of potentially hazardous substances shall deny, upon presentation, the registration or certification of a substance which is prohibited in the country of manufacture or origin. 

Title VI

Natural Resources

Chapter I

General Provisions

Article 62.  Natural resources are a public good and of social interest, without prejudice to the legitimately acquired rights of private parties.  The rules regarding natural resources contained in this Law are aimed at incorporating the concept of sustainable and rationed use of natural resources, as well as to guarantee that protection of the environment is a permanent part of the policy and administration of such resources.  The National Environmental Authority shall oversee that these mandates are fulfilled, for which it shall issue the technical standards and administrative procedures which are necessary. 

Article 63.  The indigenous reservations and the city councils which have and use or extract natural resources, shall contribute to their protection and conservation, according to the parameters established by the National Environmental Authority together with the indigenous authorities of the reservations, according to the legislation in effect. 

Article 64.  The concessions for the use of natural resources, shall be awarded in accordance with the legislation in effect. 

Article 65.  The National Environmental Authority shall establish rates for the use of the natural resources, which shall be set according to the technical and economic studies that justify the same. 

In the case of hydro resources, the rates shall be set by the Cabinet, as proposed by the National Environmental Authority. 

Chapter II

Protected Areas and Biological Diversity 

Article 66.  The National System of Protected Areas identified with the initials SINAP is hereby created, composed of all legally created protected areas, or which are established by law, decree, resolution or city council accords.  The protected areas shall be regulated by the National Environmental Authority, and may be awarded in administrative concession and services concession, to city councils, provincial government, associations, foundations and private companies, in accordance with prior technical studies.  The procedure shall be regulated by regulations. 

Article 67.  The State shall support the conservation and give preference to activities of biological diversity in the original habitat, especially in the case of unique wild species and varieties.  Likewise, it shall protect the conservation of biological diversity in installations outside of the place of origin. 

Article 68. The State shall stimulate the creation of protected areas on private properties, through a system of tax incentives and market measures, such as the exchangeable reforestation credits with natural species, the rights of sustainable development and payments for services of conservation of national and global benefit

Article 69.   The National Environmental Authority shall establish, by regulation, the rates that will be charged for the use of environmental services offered in protected areas, including the value of the amenities, following a technical study of each area or service. 

Article 70.  The National Environmental Authority, in a period of 12 months as of the date this Law enters into effect, shall prepare a plan of services and administrative concessions in protected areas, as established in the respective regulation. 

Article 71.  The National Environmental Authority  shall be the competent authority, as established in this Law, to standardise, regulate and control the access and use of the biogenetic resources in general, with exception of the human race, with respect to the intellectual property rights. In order to fulfil this responsibility, it shall develop and introduce legal instruments or economic mechanisms.  The right to use the natural resources does not authorise the titleholders to use the genetic resources contained therein. 

Article 72.  The National Environmental Authority is the competent authority to regulate the activities and the functions of the entities that regulate the protected areas and shall assume all operations assigned to the Ministry of Agricultural Development under Law 8 of 1985. 

Chapter III

Forestry Patrimony of the State

Article 73.  The inventory of forestry patrimony of the State: natural woods, replanted woods and reforested lands, are the responsibility of the National Environmental Authority, which shall register and foster titling in its name to exercise an effective administration of these. 

Article 74.  The clearing or deforestation of natural woods shall not be considered evidence by the competent authority to request the recognition of rights or possession or titling of lands. 

Chapter IV

Soil Use

Article 75.  The use of soils shall be compatible with their ecological vocation and aptitude, according the environmental organisation programs of the national territory.  The productive use of the soil will avoid practices that lead to erosion, degradation or modification of the topographical characteristics, with adverse environmental effects. 

Article 76.    The undertaking of public of private activity, which by is nature, provokes or may provoke, severe degradation of the soil, shall be subject to sanctions which include equivalent actions of recuperation or mitigation, which shall be regulated by the National Environmental Authority.

Chapter V

Air Quality

Article 77.  The air is a public good.  Its conservation and use are of social interest.

Article 78.  The National Environmental Authority, together with the competent entities, shall be in charge of regulating everything regarding air quality, establishing follow up controls, the permissible levels and parameters, for the purpose of protecting health, natural resources and the environmental quality. 

Article 79.  The State recognises, as an environmental service of forests, the capture of carbon, and shall establish the mechanisms to source financial and economic resources, through joint programs of implementation, through international accords.  

Chapter VI

Hydro Resources

Article 80.   Activities which vary the regimen, nature and quality of the water or which alter the basins, may be undertaken with the authorisation of the National Environmental Authority, in accordance with article 23 of this Law. 

Article 81.  Water is a public good in every form.  Its conservation and use are of social interest.  Its uses are conditioned to the availability of the resource and the real necessities to which it is destined. 

Article 82.  The users that profit from hydro resources shall undertake such works necessary to guarantee its conservation, according to the Environmental Management Plan and the respective concession contract. 

Article 83.  The National Environmental Authority shall create special programs for management of basins by the local authorities and users, in which, because of the level of deterioration or for strategic conservation, a decentralised management of the hydro resources is justified. 

Article 84.  The administration, use, maintenance and conservation of hydro resources of the water basin of the Panama Canal shall be undertaken by the Panama Canal Authority, in coordination with the National Environmental Authority, based on the strategies, policies and programs, related to the sustainable management of the natural resources in said basin. 

Chapter VII

Hydro-biological Resources 

Article 85.  The Maritime Authority of Panama shall formulate the Hydro-biological resources Organisation Plan, in coordination with the National Environmental Authority, which shall, furthermore, oversee the strict compliance with the plans established to obtain the conservation, recuperation and sustainable use of said resources. 

Article 86.  The National Environmental Authority shall assist the Maritime Authority of Panama to guarantee that the rules regarding fishing established, based on the fishing organisation system, procure the sustainable use of said resources.  The National Environmental Authority shall oversee to ensure that the competent authorities supervise, control and oversee, and its actions may cover the total applicable area, whether geographical zones or population groups. 

Chapter VIII

Energy Resources

Article 87.  The policy for the development of generation, transmission and distribution of electrical energy activities, shall be established by the Energy Policy Commission, together with the National Environmental Authority, where it relates to environmental impact and natural resources. 

Article 88.  The State shall promote and give priority to non-contaminating energy project, including the use of clean and energy efficient technologies. 

Article 89.  The National Environmental Authority, together with the General Department of Hydrocarbons of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Health, shall establish the measures for the prevention and control of contamination, according to that established in the corresponding environmental impact study. 

Chapter IX

Mineral Resources 

Article 90.    The National Environmental Authority shall be responsible for regulating everything relative to the environmental impact generated by mining activities. 

Article 91.  The owner of a mining and metals activity is responsible for the emissions, watersheds and wastes which may be produced as as result of the processes undertaken at their installations. 

Article 92.  The competent authority, in coordination with the National Environmental Authority, shall be responsible for supervising, controlling and overseeing the adequate application of the Environmental Adequacy and Management Plan

Article 93.  The environmental adequacy and management plans that result from environmental impact evaluations or environmental audits of mining projects, shall be approved by the National Environmental Authority, which shall have the power to suspend and sanction the operations for breach of the standards. 

Chapter X

Coastal Marine and Swamp Resources

Article 94.  The coastal marine resources are national assets and their use, management and conservation is subject to the provisions established, to this effect, by the Maritime Authority of Panama. 

In the case of protected areas with coastal marine resources under the jurisdiction of the National Environmental Authority, such provisions shall be issued and applied by this entity.

Article 95.  The National Environmental Authority and the Maritime Authority of Panama may give priority, in their policies, to the conservation of marine ecosystems with high levels of biological diversity and productivity, such as the ecosystems of coral reefs, estuaries, swamps and other reproduction and birthing zones.  The conservation measures for swamps shall establish the protection of migrating aquatic birds which use and depend on such ecosystems.  

Title VII

Reservations and Indigenous People

Article 96.  The National Environmental Authority shall coordinate, with the traditional authorities of the tribes and indigenous communities, everything relating to the environment and the natural resources that exist in these areas. 

Article 97.  The State shall respect, preserve and maintain the knowledge, innovations and practices of the indigenous and local communities, which centre on traditional life styles relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, promoting its widest application, with the participation of such communities and shall encourage that the benefits derived from this be shares equally. 

Article 98.  The right of the reservations and indigenous people to traditional sustainable use, management and take advantage of renewable natural resources, located within the reservations and indigenous reserves created by law is hereby recognised.  These resources shall be used in accordance with the purposes of protecting and conserving the environment, established in the Constitution, this Law and the other national laws. 

Article 99.  The studies for exploration, exploitation and use of natural resources authorised within lands occupied within the reservations or by indigenous people, shall not cause detriment to their cultural, social, and economic integrity and spiritual values. 

Article 100.  The State shall guarantee and respect the areas used for cemeteries, sacred sites, religious meetings and the suchlike, which have a spiritual value to the reservation or indigenous people and whose existence is indispensible for the preservation of the cultural identity. 

Article 101.  The use, with industrial or commercial ends, of resources located in community or indigenous people’s lands, by their members, shall require the authorisation of the competent authorities. 

Article 102.   The lands within the reservations and indigenous reserves are not attachable, not subject to prescription, and are inalienable.  This limitation shall not affect the traditional system of transfer of lands within the indigenous community.  The communities or indigenous people, in general may only be transferred from their reservations or reserves, or from the lands which they possess, by their prior consent. 

In the case of a transfer, they shall have the right to receive indemnification, as well as relocation to lands comparable to those which they occupied. 

Article 103.  In the case of activities, buildings or projects, developed within the indigenous peoples community, the consultation procedures shall be aimed at establishing agreements with the representatives of the communities, relative to their rights and customs, as well as to obtaining compensatory benefits for the use of their resources, knowledge or lands. 

Article 104.  To grant any type of authorisation relating to the use of the natural resources, in the reservations or indigenous community lands, preference shall be given to projects presented by the members, as long as these fulfil the requirements and procedures of the competent authorities. 

The foregoing shall not limit the rights of exploitation and use of the natural resources that a company may have as a consequence of its right of exploration, in accordance with current legislation in effect. 

Article 105.  In the case of activities destined to use the natural resources in reservation or indigenous peoples lands, these shall have the right to participate in the economic benefits which may be derived therefrom, when such benefits are not contemplated in laws in effect.

Title VIII

Environmental Responsibility

Chapter I

Obligations 

Article 106.  Every natural and legal person shall prevent damage and control contamination of the environment. 

Article 107.  The contamination produced by breaching the permissible limits, or the standards, processes and mechanisms for prevention, control, follow up, evaluation, mitigation and restoration, established in this Law and other laws in effect, shall result in civil, administrative and criminal responsibility, as applicable. 

Article 108.  The person that, through the use or taking advantage of a resource or by undertaking an activity, damages the environment or human health, shall repair the damage caused, apply the prevention and mitigation measures and assume all corresponding costs. 

Article 109.  Every natural or legal person that emits, dumps, disposes or discharges substances or wastes which affect or may affect human health, puts at risk, or damages the environment, affects or may effect the essential ecological processes or the quality of life of the population, shall be strictly liable for the damages that may cause serious damage, according to that provided in the special laws relating to the environment.  

Article 110.  The producers of hazardous waste, including radioactive wastes, shall be jointly liable with those in charge of the transport and management, for any damage resulting from its manipulation at any stage, including those that occur during or after its final disposal.  Those in charge of its modification shall only be responsible for damages caused in the stage in which they intervene. 

Article 111. Administrative responsibility is independent from civil responsibility for damages to the environment, as well as criminal responsibility which may result from punishable or prosecutable acts.  Collective and widespread interests are recognised as imbuing any citizen or civic organisation with right of action, in administrative, civil and criminal proceedings for environmental damage. 

Article 112.  The breach of environmental quality standards, the environmental impact study, the Environmental Adequacy and Management Program, this Law, complementary laws and executive decrees and the regulations of this Law, shall be punished by the National Environmental Authority, with a written warning, temporary or permanent suspension of the company’s activities or a fine, as applicable to the case and the seriousness of the breach.

Article 113. The insurance and reinsurance companies in Panama may establish policies for civil environmental liability, so that companies may arrange these security measures to economically repair the damage caused. 

Chapter II

Administrative Breaches

Article 114.  The breach of the standards contemplated in this Law are administrative breaches and shall be punished by the National Environmental Authority with a fine which shall not exceed ten million balboas (B/.10,000,000.00).  The amount of the fine shall correspond to the seriousness of the breach or the recidivism of the offender, according to that established in the respective regulations. 

The National Administrator of the Environment may impose fines of up to one million balboas (B/.1,000,000.00). 

The fineds from one million balboas (B/.1,000,000.00) to ten million balboas (B/.10,000,000.00) shall be imposed by the National Environmental Council. 

Additionally, the National Environmental Authority may order that the offender pay the cost of clean up, mitigation and compensation of the environmental damage, without prejudice to the civil and criminal liability which may correspond. 

Article 115.  The citizens, individually or legally associated, who inform of an environmental crime or breach, shall receive the same incentives contemplated in the tax legislation for the cases of contraband and the rest determined by the regulations of this Law. 

Chapter III

Civil Action

Article 116.  The reports prepared by persons licensed by the National Environmental Authority, the General Comptroller of the Republic or the competent authority, shall be considered expert evidence and a public document. 

Article 117.  The judicial action presented by the State, city councils, non-governmental organisations and individuals in order to defend the right to a healthy environment, shall be dealt with in summary proceedings and shall not result in court costs, except in the case of frivolous lawsuits. 

Article 118.  The civil environmental action shall be aimed at restoring the affected environment or the indemnification for the damage caused. 

Article 119.  The environmental civil actions prescribe after ten years from the act or knowledge of the damage. 

Title IX

Investigation of the Ecological Crime 

Chapter I

Summary Instructions

Article 120. The Prosecutor’s office is responsible for initiating, investigating and getting the evidence which permit discovering of the offender or offenders. 

Article 121.  The process of summary instructions shall be undertaken by the Prosecutor’s office in accordance with that established in Chapters I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII and IX of the Title II, Third Book, of the Judicial Code. 

Chapter II

Prosecutor’s Office Agents 

Article 122.  The Environmental Superior Prosecutor is created based in the Province of Panama, a Circuit Prosecutor for the province of Colon and the Reservation of San Blas, based in the city of Colon; a Circuit Prosecutor based in the Province of Panama, a Circuit Prosecutor for the central provinces, based in the city of Penonome; a Circuit Prosecutor for the provinces of Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro, based in the city of David; and a Circuit Prosecutor for the province of Darien based in Metetí, who shall be responsible for investigating environmental crimes. 

Article 123. Article 352g is added to the Judicial Code as follows: 

Article 352g.  The Superior Environmental Prosecutor, in addition to those responsibilities assigned to all superior prosecutors in the Judicial Code, shall have the following special powers: 

  1. 1.  Carry out all taking of evidence to clarify any crime against the environment, when any natural resource or the environment is affected in any way.

  2. 2.   Question any accused and carry out all taking of evidence to clarify the crime. 

  3. 3.   Collaborate closely with the National Environmental Authority. 

  4. 4.   Undertake all necessary and convenient actions, to discover illegal acts against a healthy environment, free from contamination. 

Article 124.  A Superior Environmental Prosecutor shall be a Panamanian citizen, over thirty years of age, in full use of their civil and political rights, have a law degree, duly registered in the Ministry of Education of in the office so indicated, with a license issued by the Supreme Court of Justice to practice law.  Furthermore, to have practiced law for ten years and have no less than five years experience in environmental matters. 

Title X

Judicial Branch

Chapter I

Circuit Court Judges 

Article 125.  In the First Judicial Circuit of Panama there will be a Criminal Circuit Judge that shall hear all environmental cases investigated by the Prosecutors; and a Civil Circuit Judge who hears all environmental liability cases, as well as the rest of the responsibilities established, for these roles, by the Judicial Code. 

Article 126.  To be a Circuit Court Judge, as established in the previous article, the applicant shall fulfil the same requirements established for the office in the Judicial Code, plus at least five years experience in environmental matters. 

Title XI

Transitory

Article 127.  Until the Environmental Consultative Commissions are established, their responsibilities shall be assumed by the National Environmental Authority, who shall have one hundred and eighty days, from promulgation, to organise the Commissions. 

Article 128.  The Executive Branch is hereby authorised, through the Ministry of Economy and Finance, to transfer to the National Environmental Authority, all real property and chattels that are currently owned by the National Institute of Natural Renewable Resources and the National Environmental Commission (CONAMA). 

Title XII

Final Provisions

Article 129.  The following legal provisions are complimentary to this Law:  Law 1 of 1994, “whereby the forestry legislation of the Republic of Panama is established and other provisions are dictated”; Law 24 of 1995 “whereby the legislation of wildlife in the Republic of Panama is established”; Law 24 of 1992 “whereby incentives are established and reforestation activity in the Republic of Panama is regulated”; Law 30 of 1994 “whereby article 7 of Law 1 of 1994 is amended regarding environmental impact studies”; and Law Decree 35 of 1966 “whereby the use of waters is regulated”. 

Article 130.  The provisions of Law 21 of 1997 “whereby the Regional Development Plan of the Interoceanic Region and the General Plan for the Use, Conservation and Development of the Canal Area are approved”  regarding territorial organisation are complimentary to this Law. 

Article 131.  The Executive Branch shall regulate this Law in no more than twelve months, as of the date of the promulgation. 

Article 132.  This Law adds article 352g to the Judicial Code, modifies articles 3 and 5 of Law 8 of 1985, and revokes, in all its parts, Law 21 of 1986, Executive Decree 29 of 1983, Executive Decree 43 of 1983 and Executive Decree 31 of 1985, as well as any other provision which may be contrary hereto. 

Article 133. This Law shall enter into effect as of its promulgation. 

TO BE COMMUNICATED AND FULFILLED 

Approved in third debate, at Justo Arosemena Palace, Panama City, on the 9th day of the month of June of nineteen ninety eight. 

President,

Gerardo González Vernaza

General Secretary,

Harley James Mitchell D.

All material included in the Gray & Co. web sites is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. The information should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. The material contained herein is not offered as legal or any other advice on any particular matter.  This information has been provided to help you stay informed, and is not intended to replace legal or professional advice.  While we make every effort to make sure that the information provided is accurate and useful, we recommend that you consult a lawyer or law firm if you want professional assurance that this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.