GAO Report on Nutrient Pollution  http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/687757.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery  Government ...

  GAO Report on Nutrient Pollution  http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/687757.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery  Government Accountability Office, Some States Have Trading Programs to Help Address Nutrient Pollution, but Use Has Been Limited , a report to the Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse, US Senate, GAO-18-84, Oct. 2017.    In 2014, 11 states had 19 nutrient credit trading programs, and trading provided flexibility for some point sources, such as wastewater treatment plants, to meet nutrient discharge limits, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data and officials. The majority of nutrient credit trading during 2014 occurred in three state programs—programs in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. A review of trading data from these programs showed that most point sources participating in the three state programs did not purchase credits in 2014 to meet their discharge limits, which are established in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits under the Clean Water Act.   For the point sources that did purchase credits in 2014, state officials in the three states told GAO that the total amount in pounds of nutrients that point sources purchased as credits was generally small. Nevertheless, state officials explained that nutrient credit trading was useful because it allowed point sources to manage risk, reduce the cost of compliance, and better manage the timing of upgrades of nutrient removal technology.  According to stakeholders, two key factors have affected participation in nutrient credit trading—the presence of discharge limits for nutrients and the challenges of measuring the results of nonpoint sources’ nutrient reduction activities. Officials from the three states GAO reviewed and other stakeholders cited the importance of discharge limits for nutrients as a driver to create demand for trading. Without such a driver, point sources have little incentive to purchase nutrient credits.  State officials and stakeholders also told GAO that even if a program allows nonpoint sources to trade, point sources often prefer to trade with other point sources because they have similar permit and monitoring requirements.