Brian Peteritas is a GOVERNING contributor.E-mail: email@example.com
In a move aimed at helping power plants and other industry-oriented businesses meet environmental standards, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky are joining forces to create the first interstate water quality trading program, according to a press release from the American Farmland Trust. The pilot program, which will involve up to 30 farms and several power plants and wastewater facilities, will work in a similar fashion to carbon trading programs. Farmers who implement best practices for conservation management on their land will earn water quality credits for reducing nutrient runoff for chemicals like phorphorus and nitrogen. Businesses that emit similar nutrients can then pay farmers for those credits and use them to meet their own environmental requirements. If the project is successful, it could expand throughout the entire Ohio River Basin and loop in five more states as well as create credit markets for dozens of power plants, thousands of wastewater facilities and hundreds of thousand of farmers.