Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Credit Trading Program; Notice of Proposals
[40 Pa.B. 1124]
[Saturday, February 27, 2010]
The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) hereby provides notice of the following proposals that have been submitted under the Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Credit Trading Program (Trading Program). These proposals were submitted under The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. §§ 691.1—691.1001), and the Final Trading of Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Credits—Policy and Guidelines (Policy) (DEP ID# 392-0900-001). The Policy calls 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 proposals described in this notice relates to the submitted proposals through February 12, 2010.
Before a credit can be used by an NPDES permittee, a three-step process is followed: (1) the credit or offset proposal must be approved; (2) it must be verified; and (3) 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 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 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 certification, 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 to meet effluent limits 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 87 proposals that have been submitted for review to generate nutrient reduction credits in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Of those, 57 have been approved, one has been withdrawn and the remaining need additional clarification prior to qualifying for certification.
New Proposals Under Review
The following new proposals are being reviewed by the Department. The Department will accept written comments on these proposed projects for 30 days.
Proposal Applicant Proposal Description Lycoming County Conservation District Nitrogen credits to be generated by the implementation of best management practices with six landowners located in Lycoming County.
For further information about this proposal or the Trading Program, or to submit comments, contact Ann Smith, Water Planning Office, Department of Environmental Protection, 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. 10-367. Filed for public inspection February 26, 2010, 9:00 a.m.]
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