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Water Quality Trading to Help Accelerate Restoration of U.S. Impaired Waters


Brooks M. Smith

Washington partner Brent Fewell and Richmond partner Brooks Smith’s article, “Water Quality Trading to Help Accelerate Restoration of U.S. Impaired Waters,” was published July 24 in BNA Insights: Water Law & Policy Monitor.

The duo, according to a summary of the article by BNA, promote the use of water quality trading as a flexible, market-based approach that offers great efficiency in achieving water quality goals on a watershed basis.

“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.”