EPA Defends Water Quality Trading at Senate Hearing

On May 22, Michael Shapiro, deputy assistant administrator in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water, defended water quality trading as consistent with the Clean Water Act. At a hearing of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, part of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Shapiro discussed EPA’s water quality trading policy. The policy focuses on nutrients, which EPA has identified as a major threat to clean water. Shapiro outlined the various sections of the Clean Water Act that support trading. Other witnesses also indicated that the Clean Water Act allows for trading.

Senator Benjamin Cardin (D–Md.), who chairs the subcommittee, convened the hearing on nutrient trading and water quality. The hearing comes as EPA and other groups await a federal court’s decision on a 2012 lawsuit by Friends of the Earth and Food and Water Watch. The groups sought the removal of water pollution trading from the Chesapeake Bay restoration program.

View the archived webcast, witness statements, and other information on this hearing online.

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