The Office of the State Attorney General clarified the powers of the Office of the State Comptroller General in certain environmental matters.
In Official Communication No. 17650 of February 10, 2022, the Office of the State Attorney General (the “Attorney General’s Office”) replied to an inquiry from the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Ecological Transition (“MAATE”) regarding the powers of the Office of the State Comptroller General (the “Comptroller’s Office”) to audit environmental impact study analysis and approval procedures and to carry out the examination and assessment of the environmental aspects of compliance with environmental studies and management plans in the implementation of projects or works with environmental impact.
The highlights of this response from the Attorney General’s Office are the following:
1. The inquiry arose from special analyses in environmental matters made by the Comptroller’s Office to projects where private companies have participated with state institutions and in which MAATE has issued environmental licenses.
2. In these examinations the Comptroller’s Office, beyond analyzing the procedure followed by MAATE officials when granting environmental licenses, has carried out a control regarding the compliance with obligations under the environmental license.
3. This power, according to MAATE, is beyond the jurisdiction of the Comptroller’s Office. MAATE states that such power is exclusive to them pursuant to the Organic Environmental Code.
4. Considering an apparent double jurisdiction over the same matter, MAATE submitted an inquiry to the Attorney General’s Office.
5. The Attorney General’s Office stated that the Comptroller’s Office is responsible only for auditing approval procedures for MAATE’s administrative resolutions related to environmental studies and management plans. On the other hand, MAATE is exclusively responsible for the control and monitoring of compliance with the environmental obligations of holders of environmental permits and licenses.
6. With this response to the inquiry, a vital aspect that had caused concern in the companies that received observations from the Comptroller’s Office in relation to the implementation of projects in which they had participated in association with or provided services to state-owned companies or institutions was clarified.
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