Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Credit Trading Program; Nutrient Trading Program Activities and NPDES Permits
[39 Pa.B. 288]
[Saturday, January 10, 2009]
The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) provides notice of the following actions regarding the Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Credit Trading Program (Trading Program). These actions were taken in relation to the Final Trading of Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Credits--Policy and Guidelines (Policy) (DEP ID No. 392-0900-001) (see 36 Pa.B. 7999 (December 30, 2006)). The Policy called for a transparent system of credit reviews and approvals.
Trading is a market-based program that provides incentives for entities to create nutrient reduction credits by going beyond statutory, regulatory or voluntary obligations and goals by removing nutrients from a watershed. The credits can be traded to help others more cost-effectively meet their obligations or goals. The primary purpose of the Trading Program is to provide for more efficient ways for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permittees to meet their effluent limits for nutrients and sediment. Currently, the focus of the program is on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
The actions described in this notice relate to: (1) submitted proposals; (2) approved proposals; and (3) registered credits, through December 23, 2008.
Before a credit can be used by an NPDES permittee, a three-step process is followed. First, the credit or offset proposal must be approved, second, it must be verified and third, it must be registered.
Approval is also known as certification, which is a written approval by the Department for the use of proposed or implemented activities to generate credits (in some cases the person generating the credits is not permitted to transfer them to another person, in which case they are called ''offsets''). Certifications are based on at least: (1) a credit or offset proposal to be submitted describing the qualifying activities that will reduce the nutrient loadings delivered to the applicable watershed; (2) the calculation to quantify the pounds of reductions expected; and (3) a verification plan that, when implemented, ensures that the qualifying nutrient reduction activities have taken place. The proposals, certifications and registrations described in this notice apply to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Once the credits or offsets are certified, they must be verified. Verification means implementation of the verification plan contained in a certified credit or offset proposal as required by the Department. Verification plans require annual submittal of documentation to the Department that demonstrates that the qualifying nutrient reduction activities have taken place for the applicable compliance year.
The credits or offsets also need to be registered by the Department before they can be used in an NPDES permit. Registration occurs only after credits or offsets have been certified and verified, and a trading contract for credits has been submitted to the Department. For the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the Department will register credits on an annual basis for use during the compliance year in which the qualifying nutrient reduction activities have taken place and will provide such credits with an annual registry number for reporting and tracking purposes.
The Department has received 65 proposals that have been submitted for review to generate nutrient reduction credits in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Of those, 43 have been approved, 3 are in review, 1 has been withdrawn and the remaining proposals need additional clarification prior to certification.
Proposals under Review
The following proposals are being reviewed by the Department. Comments will be received on these projects for 30 days.
Proposal Applicant Proposal Description 1. Herbert Rowland and Grubic, Inc. on behalf of the Alliance for Cooperative Innovation and the Cove Area Regional Digester Board. Nitrogen and Phosphorus credits generated by installing a manure processing technology.
The Department has approved the following credit-generating proposals.
Applicant and proposal description Nitrogen Credits Phosphorus Credits 1. Lancaster County Conservation District: Nitrogen credits generated by implementation of cover crops and no-till and Nitrogen and Phosphorus credits generated by manure export. 14,270 1,335 2. Berks County Conservation District: Nitrogen credits generated by the implementation of grazing BMPs. This proposal will generate credits for multiple years. Implementation began in 2007-2008. 11 3. PA Environmental Council and Capital RC&D: Nitrogen credits generated by the implementation of no-till in Bradford County. This proposal will generate credits for multiple years. Implementation began in 2007-2008. 3,433 Total: 17,714 1,335
Verifications and Registrations:
To date, there are no verifications and registrations.
For further information about the information or the Department's Nutrient Trading Program, contact Ann Smith, Water Planning Office, P. O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063, (717) 787-4726, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Department's web site at www.depweb. state.pa.us (DEP Keywords: ''Nutrient Trading'').
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 09-51. Filed for public inspection January 9, 2009, 9:00 a.m.]
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