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Cleaning Up America's Waters
Last year, EPA issued a Water Quality Trading Policy to increase the success of cleaning up rivers, streams, and lakes. The goal is to speed clean-up efforts while saving the public hundreds of millions of dollars by advancing more effective, efficient partnerships to clean up and protect America's watersheds. The policy keeps existing controls and safeguards in place while offering greater flexibility and incentives to states, tribes, and companies to comply with - and exceed - requirements of the Clean Water Act. Water quality trading uses economic incentives to improve water quality. It allows one source to meet its regulatory obligations by using pollutant reductions created by another source that has lower pollution control costs. but the source generating the credits must first satisfy all of its own pollution control requirements and can only trade excess reductions-those that go beyond what it is otherwise required to do. Efficiency is increased and costs are decreased, and there is also accelerated progress in achieving clean-up goals. Under the policy, industrial and municipal facilities must first meet regulatory technology control requirements and then can use pollution reduction credits to make further progress toward water quality goals.
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