(October 24, 2017) – The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report last week examining the use of water quality trading programs in the United States. The report, which was requested by U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), examined which states have trading programs, the role of EPA in providing oversight, and how regulatory drivers impact the use of trading programs.
In general, the report concluded that the states which allow trading find it to be a useful tool in achieving water quality goals, but that the overall use of trading is still relatively small. The report also found that EPA can play a helpful role in providing national guidance and consistency among trading programs, but that differing regulatory drivers can impact the use of trading approaches.
While the report does not provide any particularly new information on the state of water quality trading, it does serve as a helpful additional data point for ongoing trading discussions. NACWA’s Water Quality Trading Workgroup will be exploring the report in further depth.