EPA, USDA and White House to Highlight New Market-Based Water Quality Trading Program in Virginia
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2014—On Tuesday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy will hold a press conference with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary (USDA) Tom Vilsack, Mike Boots of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Commonwealth of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a private investor and an Appomattox, VA farmer to recognize an innovative, market-based nutrient trading program that Virginia has embraced to encourage economic investments and reduce phosphorus pollution to local waterways in order to meet water quality goals for the Chesapeake Bay.
By offsetting increases in phosphorus loads, nutrient trading provides important economic incentives for farmers, including cost savings, new income, and employment opportunities, in addition to environmental benefits, such as air quality improvements, enhanced wildlife habitat, and carbon capture and storage. The Commonwealth of Virginia has created a market supply and demand for land conservation projects, taking nutrient trading from the conceptual level to an on-the-ground program that benefits the environment, reduces costs to the Commonwealth, and provides income to farmers.
Both EPA and USDA have long supported the concept of market-based approaches to improve water quality, and EPA is developing additional resources for states across the country to pursue similar programs.