Recently introduced legislation seeks to establish a voluntary water quality trading program in Missouri. Representative Bart Korman introduced House Bill 2490, which proposes developing a market-based approach to complying with federal water quality regulations. The trading program would allow point and non-point sources, including agricultural operations, to meet regulatory requirements by exchanging credits among themselves. For more information on H.B. 2490, click here.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has organized a workgroup dedicated to designing a framework for a water quality trading program in Missouri. From the best way to set up a market structure to enforcement recommendations, the group meets monthly to discuss how to make the program viable. At the January meeting, the Nutrient Tracking Tool was introduced as a way to make trading more economically viable. Specifically, this technology would allow trading without the need to measure practice results at the edge of each field.
Water quality trading programs can be beneficial to municipalities and industrial dischargers that may not be able to comply with water quality limits and cannot economically support improvements to their wastewater treatment facilities. A trading program can be a more cost-effective and flexible way to protect water quality in Missouri.