Maryland Water Quality Trading Advisory Committee to hold first meeting

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Maryland Department of the Environment
Jay Apperson

(410) 537-3003
jay.apperson@maryland.gov

Maryland Department of Agriculture
Jason Schellhardt

(410) 841-5744
jason.schellhardt@maryland.gov

Maryland Water Quality Trading Advisory Committee to hold first meeting

Baltimore, MD (January 20, 2016) – An advisory group formed to help Maryland develop a nutrient trading policy to accelerate the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay while reducing costs to local governments and citizens and boosting private sector jobs will hold its first meeting tomorrow.

The Maryland Water Quality Trading Advisory Committee will meet tomorrow, January 21, at the Maryland Department of the Environment headquarters in Baltimore. The 32-member committee is made up of stakeholders representing a broad range of fields and interests, including the regulated community, local governments, federal and state government agencies, the Maryland General Assembly, the academic and technical community, agriculture, business and the environmental community.

“Nutrient trading means upgrading and accelerating the Bay cleanup through teamwork and innovation,” Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles said. “The committee members’ knowledge and insight will be critical to the development and implementation of a trading program that boosts our environmental progress, with clear and verifiable results.”

“The Maryland Department of Agriculture, like our partner, the Department of the Environment, believes water quality trading can be a valuable tool in restoring the Bay and its tributaries. The department has helped to lay the foundation for a successful program by leading the development of an online trading platform, establishing the Agricultural Certainty Program and developing regulations to support trading activities,” said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder.

In recent years, nutrient trading has emerged as a promising strategy for bringing cost-effectiveness and market-driven efficiency to the achievement of nutrient reduction goals. Nutrient trading is an important element of Maryland’s approach for restoring the Bay by creating opportunities for the sectors facing the highest costs to meet a portion of their responsibilities by purchasing offsets or credits created by other sources.

In October, the Maryland Departments of the Environment and Agriculture released the Maryland Nutrient Trading Policy Statement in announcing that Maryland is pursuing new tools for faster, better restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. The Policy Statement is a road map for the development of cross-sector, water quality trading programs that use innovation, economies of scale and public-private partnerships to speed improvements to the Bay and local rivers and streams.

At the time of the announcement, Governor Larry Hogan said, “The Chesapeake Bay is one of our most important, valuable and beloved resources and our cleanup efforts will not stop until the Bay is restored. These new tools, which make sense both economically and environmentally, are yet another example of our commitment to preserving our natural resources for generations to come.”

On January 8, the Maryland Nutrient Trading Symposium was held at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The day-long, sold-out symposium addressed the basic concepts of trading and the role of trading in Bay restoration efforts, as well as the State’s current approach to trading and its future plans. The agenda afforded significant time for questions and dialogue among all participants. The symposium was sponsored by the Maryland Departments of the Environment and Agriculture in collaboration with the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Maryland Grain Producers.

The path forward on nutrient trading includes the issuance, with input from the Maryland Water Quality Trading Advisory Committee, of a policy manual and guidelines that would be used to initiate trades within Maryland.  It also includes the adoption of regulations proposed by the Maryland Department of Agriculture establishing the requirements and standards for the generation, verification and certification of nutrient and sediment credits on agricultural lands.

The Maryland Water Quality Trading Advisory Committee is designed to build upon the work of the Agricultural Nonpoint Nutrient Trading Advisory Committee, which has helped to shape the policies and regulations relating to agricultural credits. The new committee includes a number of members of the older committee.

The Maryland Water Quality Trading Advisory Committee will act as an ongoing consultative group to provide direction to the overall trading program and to oversee further enhancement of the trading infrastructure.  Its first task will be to review and refine a comprehensive Maryland Trading Manual document.  A series of four initial meetings is anticipated, with the goal of finalizing a manual document and identifying other necessary actions by the end of April.

The first meeting of the group is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon, tomorrow, Thursday, January 21, in the lobby conference rooms at the Maryland Department of the Environment headquarters, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. Meeting information: 410-537-3512.

 

Maryland Water Quality Trading Advisory Committee members

Tom Ballentine, NAIOP Maryland Commercial Real Estate Development Association

Bevin Buchheister, Chesapeake Bay Commission

Lynn Buhl, Maryland Department of the Environment

Jim Caldwell, Howard County Office of Community Sustainability

Valerie Connelly, Maryland Farm Bureau

Candace Donoho,  Maryland Municipal League

Jason Dubow, Maryland Department of Planning

Jim Edward, Chesapeake Bay Program Office

Lisa Feldt, Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection

Brent Fewell, Earth and Water Group

Patricia Gleason, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 3

Terron Hillsman, U.S. Department of Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Service, Maryland Office

Lynne Hoot, Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, Maryland Grain Producers

Jeff Horstman, Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy

George Kelly, Resource Environmental Solutions

Les Knapp, Maryland Association of Counties

Stephen Lafferty, Maryland House of Delegates

Kate Maloney, Maryland State Builders Association

Erik Michelsen, Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works

Thomas Middleton, Maryland State Senate

Shannon Moore, Frederick County Sustainability & Environmental Resources Office

Doug Myers, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Dan Nees, University of Maryland Finance Center

Susan Payne, Maryland Department of Agriculture

Chris Pomeroy, AquaLaw, Maryland Association of Municipal Wastewater Agencies, Maryland Municipal Stormwater Association

Jenny Rhodes, Maryland Agricultural Commission, University of Maryland Extension

Mindy Selman, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Environmental Markets

Rob Shreeve, Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration

Helen Stewart, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Al Todd, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

Lisa Wainger, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Sara Walker, World Resources Institute

 

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