March 01, 2018

Effluent Trading under the Clean Water Act

Mark A. Ryan

Two recent articles in Natural Resources & Environment on effluent trading take opposite views on the legality and policy advantages of the practice. See Zach Corrigan, The Case Against Water Quality Trading, 30 Nat. Resources & Env’t, no. 2, Fall 2015 at 15, and Brooks Smith et al., Water Quality Trading: Setting the Record Straight, 31 Nat. Resources & Env’t, no. 3, Winter 2017 at 53. This article looks at an actual example of a trade and how the trader dealt with the legal, policy, technical, and financial issues that arose. Trading, I argue here, if done correctly, has the potential to reduce costs while continuing to protect the environment.

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