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Chesapeake Bay scientists urge caution on nutrient trading

ANNAPOLIS — An environmental group is urging caution in developing a nutrient trading program to cut Chesapeake Bay pollution.

Nutrient trading allows polluters to buy credits for reductions made by others. The concept has been proposed to limit pollution from nitrogen and phosphorus, so-called nutrients that fuel oxygen-robbing algae blooms in the bay. The pollutants come from sources including sewage, fertilizer, auto and power plant emissions.

Some states in the bay watershed have individual nutrient trading programs and a regional program has been proposed to help cut bay pollution.

A new report by the Senior Scientists & Policymakers for the Bay says the concept has promise, but must be vigorously monitored to guard against fraud and ensure large traders don’t have an advantage over smaller groups.