Developing a state water quality trading framework in Georgia
Welch, Justin Carter
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The Federal Clean Water Act Amendments of 1972 (CWA) initiated an effort to protect and improve surface water quality. Despite improvements nationwide, numerous waters still do not fully support some designated use, including many in Georgia. To address these short-comings, additional management alternatives must be considered. Water quality trading (WQT) is one option that uses market-based forces to encourage reductions and enables sources to choose least-cost compliance alternatives. The theoretical benefit is a net reduction of pollution within watersheds at lower total costs. The popularity of WQT is growing in Georgia and it may become a viable management tool in the future. Thus, adequate consideration of the critical policy components is necessary for appropriate utilization. This thesis analyzes trading frameworks of seven states to identify specific alternatives that may be applicable to Georgia’s environmental, economic, and legal contexts. Recommendations for developing an appropriate policy framework in Georgia are provided.
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