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NWQTA IN ACTION

July 2016 - The Case For Water Quality Trading

Across the United States, we face serious, recurring and seemingly intractable water quality problems. Over half of our Nation’s waters have been identified as “impaired” (i.e., not meeting applicable water quality standards), and in far too many communities, the “fishable/swimmable” goals of the Clean Water Act are nowhere close to being realized.

Our water pollution problems are complex, involving myriad pollutants, sources and causes, not just piped discharges from wastewater treatment plants but diffuse runoff from urban areas, agricultural fields and even air deposition. In addition, although water pollution may seem “local” in terms of causes and effects, the far-field effects of multiple contributing sources have led to large-scale impairments in some of our Nation’s most iconic watersheds, such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Mississippi River.

Without question, we need new and better tools to accelerate the pace and scale of water quality restoration, to bring other sectors into the effort, and to produce more affordable and efficient environmental return on investment. Water quality trading is such a tool to more efficiently and affordably improve water quality and brings in private capital to supplement the good start made by our federal, state, and local governments and the regulated community.

Despite its many benefits, water quality trading is not without its detractors.  After reviewing and reflecting on opposing viewpoints, the National Water Quality Trading Alliance (“NWQTA”) has released “The Case For Water Quality Trading,” expounding on the benefits of  water quality trading and addressing the concerns that have been raised.

July 2015 - WEF Releases Advances in Water Quality Trading as a Flexible Compliance Tool 
Advances in Water Quality Trading as a Flexible Compliance Tool explores the status of water quality trading and recent changes in the industry and is a guide for implementing and using water quality trading for regulatory compliance purposes. Topics such as current legal and regulatory challenges, in depth case studies, and future applications are discussed in detail. This book offers a look at where and how optimizing investments in water quality through trading are unfolding. Municipalities, industries, agencies, and environmental organizations all benefit from this guidance. 342 pages. The following NWQTA members all contributed to this newly-released publication: EPRI’s Jessica Fox, Kieser and Associates’ Mark Kieser, RES’ TJ Mascia and George Kelly, The Freshwater Trust’s Julia Bond, Joe Furia, Karin Power, David Primozich, Ann Sorensen, Kaola Swanson and Tim Wigington, The Willamette Partnership’s Bobby Cochran, WRI’s Mindy Selman, and Troutman Sanders’ Brent Fewell and Brooks Smith.  

May 2015 - Trading to achieve compliance cost effectively – Water quality trading offers an innovative, market-based means of complying with US Clean Water Act requirements. Charles Logue of Loudon Water, G. Tracy Mehan of the US Water Alliance, David Primozich with The Freshwater Trust, Mark Kieser of Kieser & Associates, LLC, Brent Fewell of Troutman Sanders, and TJ Mascia of Resource Environmental Solutions report on trading history, legal settings, and case studies. 

April 2015 - The Northeast Midwest Institute will be holding a congressional briefing to discuss the opportunities and latest developments involving nutrient trading. The NWQTA will be represented by Brent Fewell, who will be one of four panelists. Alex Echols, who serves on NEMW’s Board, was instrumental in creating this opportunity for the Alliance. 

February 2015 - NWQTA Former Member Representative Ben Grumbles, Maryland Secretary of the Environment, is honored with the William K. Reilly Award

August 21, 2014 – NWQTA met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials

On behalf of the NWQTA members and as part of the group’s strategic goals, representatives from the NWQTA met with EPA officials to discuss water quality trading issues and advancement.
Related articles here.

July 24, 2014 – Brent Fewell and Brooks Smith published Water Quality Trading to Help Accelerate Restoration of U.S. Impaired Waters, in the BNA Insights Law & Policy Monitor. 

Excerpt: “As highlighted in EPA’s 2003 national water trading policy, trading ‘provides greater flexibility and has potential to achieve water quality and environmental benefits greater than would otherwise be achieved under more traditional regulatory approaches,’” Brent and Brooks said. “In essence, trading enables regulated entity X to achieve regulatory reductions at lower costs by offsetting its pollutant reductions by paying Y (regulated or unregulated) to reduce its pollutants at a fraction of X’s cost. Thus, trading capitalizes on economies of scale and the control cost differentials among and between sources.”

July 29, 2014 – US Water Alliance and NWQTA Co-Hosted  Leveraging Market-Based Strategies to Solve Urban Stormwater Challenges

In July of last year, the District of Columbia became one of the first major metropolitan areas in the U.S. to formally adopt storm water trading regulations aimed at helping to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and meet Clean Water Act requirements. The District of Columbia’s program seeks to reduce impervious runoff by encouraging landowners and developers to go beyond what the regulations require, using innovative and cost-effective solutions to generate tradable credits that, in turn, can be sold to landowners whose ability to reduce post-

Guest speakers Jeffery Seltzer and Brian Van Wye, District Department of the Environment contributed to the discussion, along with current and former EPA officials, utility and business leaders, state water officials, and the Honorable Parris Glendening, former Governor of Maryland and current leader at Smart Growth America.

March 17, 2014 – NWQTA Comments on Draft Bay Watershed Agreement

Excerpt: While we are greatly encouraged by the Draft Agreement, particularly the effort to set out “Principles,” “Goals and Outcomes” and a “Management Strategy,” we feel that the omission of water quality trading from the current draft represents a lost opportunity…

March 2014 – Testimony of Brent Fewell on Behalf of the National Water Quality Trading Alliance, Before the Subcommittee On Water Resources and Environment of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives. 

January 2014 - NWQTA Comments on WQS Rulemaking