Abstract Title

Stormwater Credit-Trading

Disciplines

Public Economics

Abstract

Stormwater runoff caused by urbanization can have devastating effects on the environment. Trash, motor oil, bacteria, sediment, and pesticides get washed away by stormwater and eventually flow into rivers and other bodies of water. These contaminants poison aquatic life, suffocate aquatic plants, deplete dissolved oxygen levels, and can make the water dangerous for human contact. The Boise River is no exception. In order to combat the adverse effects of stormwater pollution, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has proposed an innovative stormwater management system: stormwater credit-trading. Similar to emissions trading and pioneered by the District Department of the Environment in Washington, D.C., this program utilizes market forces to improve water quality in a cost-effective manner. Unfortunately, the implementation of such a plan has proven difficult. Issues with liability, pricing, market structure, and environmental benefits have all acted to complicate the matter. My research has focused on the pros and cons of current and similar programs across the country, ultimately leading me to my central question: What makes a stormwater credit-trading program feasible?

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Stormwater Credit-Trading

Stormwater runoff caused by urbanization can have devastating effects on the environment. Trash, motor oil, bacteria, sediment, and pesticides get washed away by stormwater and eventually flow into rivers and other bodies of water. These contaminants poison aquatic life, suffocate aquatic plants, deplete dissolved oxygen levels, and can make the water dangerous for human contact. The Boise River is no exception. In order to combat the adverse effects of stormwater pollution, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has proposed an innovative stormwater management system: stormwater credit-trading. Similar to emissions trading and pioneered by the District Department of the Environment in Washington, D.C., this program utilizes market forces to improve water quality in a cost-effective manner. Unfortunately, the implementation of such a plan has proven difficult. Issues with liability, pricing, market structure, and environmental benefits have all acted to complicate the matter. My research has focused on the pros and cons of current and similar programs across the country, ultimately leading me to my central question: What makes a stormwater credit-trading program feasible?