(Posted by Dawn Stoltzfus.)
With the watershed states (Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, W. Virginia and Delaware) and D.C. working to significantly reduce pollution to meet the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, nutrient trading is a hot topic. Some see trading as a way to reduce the challenging costs of Chesapeake Bay cleanup, and it looks good on paper—but there are serious scientific concerns about its practicality and water quality benefits, particularly with trades between nonpoint sources (like agriculture and stormwater runoff) and point sources (like wastewater treatment plants). Difficulty in accurately measuring trading’s effectiveness also seems like a big obstacle.
At a recent event focusing on Chesapeake Bay restoration accountability, organized by the Center for Progressive Reform, long-time bay advocate Joe Maroon presented a very interesting report, Emerging Issues in Nutrient Credit Trading in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, that offers much food for thought—and cause for concern—when it comes to trading.
Readers, what are your thoughts? Is trading a tool that will help us finally get the Chesapeake Bay off the “dirty waters” list? Or could it just make things worse?