EPA unveils new policy to cut agricultural discharges into waterways

(Note: "Our new Water Quality Trading Policy" sounds a lot like water just became a commodity on Wall Street -- which, in fact, one might almost say that it already is. Mitigation banking of water is futures trading. This is a way to mask polluters by allowing them to have 'credits' and to use those credits to manipulate the law.)

January 15, 2003

By Joshua Lipsky


On Monday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman unveiled a new Water Quality Trading Policy designed to cut agricultural, industrial and municipal discharges into the nation's waterways.

The new policy encourages states to develop and put into place water trading programs that implement the requirements of the Clean Water and federal regulations in more flexible ways and reduce the cost of improving and maintaining the quality of nation's waters.

"The Water Quality Trading Policy I am announcing today recognizes that within a watershed, the most effective and economical way to reduce pollution is to provide incentives to encourage action by those who can achieve reductions easily and cost-effectively," Whitman said.

"Our new Water Quality Trading Policy will result in cleaner water, at less cost, and in less time. It provides the flexibility needed to meet local challenges while demanding accountability to ensure that water quality does improve."

Water quality trading uses economic incentives to improve water quality, according to the EPA. It allows one source to meet its regulatory obligations by using pollutant reductions created by another source that has lower pollution control costs. The standards remain the same, but efficiency is increased and costs are decreased.

Under the policy, industrial and municipal facilities would first meet technology control requirements and then could use pollution reduction credits to make further progress towards water quality goals.

"This policy will provide market-based incentives to encourage America's farmers, ranchers and woodlot owners and operators to do even more to maintain and improve the quality of our environment," said Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Bruce Knight. "The conservation programs in the 2002 Farm Bill will help farmers and ranchers improve water quality."

To view the policy in its entirety visit http://www.EPA.gov .