Linking here to an article this past week that my friend and law partner, Brooks Smith, and I wrote for BNA on the status of water quality trading markets. As we emphasize in the article, flexible environmental markets, such as trading, can help to accelerate the restoration of thousands of impaired water bodies around the U.S., such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. And do so in a much more cost-effective manner than traditional command-and-control approaches. In the article, Brooks and I point to some of the successes where communities have achieved aggressive environmental goals while simultaneously saving tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. But the opportunity for leveraging these markets to do so much more, just screams out for greater national attention – a rallying cry for breaking the mold of environmental business as usual.
These markets, however, won’t take root unless we have a strong commitment, including state and federal laws, aimed at restoring these ecosystems. My colleague here at Conservefewell, Tracy Mehan, has been a tireless champion of these markets, including during his term at EPA Office of Water, where he established EPA’s 2003 final water quality trading policy. My former EPA boss, Benjamin Grumbles, who happened to be Tracy’s deputy, is also a stalwart of these innovative approaches, as he continues to lead efforts under the flag of the U.S. Water Alliance, a great organization aimed at promoting “One Water” solutions, aimed at chaning the way we as a society value and manage water resources.