Water Quality Trading in the Chesapeake Bay

25 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2012 Last revised: 25 Jun 2012

Rena I. Steinzor

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law; Center for Progressive Reform

Nicholas W. Vidargas

Center for Progressive Reform

Shana Campbell Jones

Center For Progressive Reform

Ling-Yee Huang

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: June 11, 2012

Abstract

In May 2009, President Obama issued an Executive Order on Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration, declaring the Bay a national treasure and signaling that EPA will play a strong role in leading Bay cleanup. The order marked a dramatic departure, offering the promise of federal leadership on Bay cleanup. The following year, EPA issued a Chesapeake Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), a pollution budget for Bay states. Faced with a federal commitment, the states have begun work on complying with the TMDL. One Bay-wide approach under consideration is a market-based initiative, water quality trading, that would allow polluters to trade pollution credits.

In this white paper, CPR's Chesapeake Bay experts warn that such an approach has largely failed elsewhere, and that the success or failure of a Bay trading regime rests on whether Bay states can meet a number of several threshold criteria, including: Broad participation in the program, including from "nonpoint" pollution sources; Genuine accountability, so that credit trades actual translate into pollution reductions, not simply paper savings; Resources from the states sufficient to operate an accountable trading regime in all its complexity; Rules that avoid pollution hot spots; A continuation of traditional regulatory controls that would create an incentive for participation in the program; Transparency from EPA and the Bay states, so that compliance can be monitored by all.

Keywords: Water Quality Trading, Nutrient Trading, Clean Water Act, TMDL, Chesapeake Bay

Suggested Citation

Steinzor, Rena I. and Vidargas, Nicholas W. and Jones, Shana Campbell and Huang, Ling-Yee, Water Quality Trading in the Chesapeake Bay (June 11, 2012). U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-31. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2082518 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2082518

Rena I. Steinzor (Contact Author)

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States

Center for Progressive Reform ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
United States

Nicholas W. Vidargas

Center for Progressive Reform ( email )

455 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150-513
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202.747.0698 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.progressivereform.org

Shana Campbell Jones

Center For Progressive Reform ( email )

1200 New York Ave., NW
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Ling-Yee Huang

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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