July 23, 2015 Articles

Nutrient Trading as Clean Water Strategy in the Interstate Context

The public at large is unlikely to rank nutrient pollution among the top threats to water, but excess nutrient levels in national watersheds are a serious concern.

By Sarah T. Babcock – July 23, 2015

The public at large is unlikely to rank nutrient pollution among the top threats to water, but excess nutrient levels in national watersheds are a serious concern. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has labeled nutrient pollution one of the country’s most widespread, costly, and challenging environmental problems, and views it as a major threat to clean water. While the need to reduce nutrient loads in waterways might be clear, the best way to achieve that goal is far from self-evident. In recent years, nutrient trading has emerged as a potential solution to the thorny problem of excess nutrients. As discussed below, trading is potentially well suited to play a significant role in nutrient reduction. However, whether the same is true in the interstate context remains to be seen.


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