February 18, 2020

Contact: Senator Robert Cowles: (608) 266-0484

Assembly Advances Pollution Prevention Partnerships Bill 

Innovative Approach to Advance Water Quality and Rural Economies Heads to Governor’s Desk

MADISON– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statement after the Assembly approved 2019 Senate Bill 91, better known as P3: Wisconsin’s Trading Marketplace to Establish More Pollution Prevention Partnerships, on a voice vote. This legislation is authored by Senator Cowles, Representative Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) and Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and co-sponsored by nearly fifty other Senators and Representatives: 

“P3: Wisconsin’s Trading Marketplace represents an exciting and innovative opportunity to provide farmers and other nonpoint sources with some financial incentive to implement more advanced land and water management practices. This bipartisan, groundbreaking effort will promote more water quality trades by introducing a third-party clearinghouse into the currently inflexible pollutant trading process to create a marketplace for trades.”

These mutually beneficial water quality trades allow nonpoint-source dischargers to create a reduction in total pollutants entering a waterbody, quantified as credits, to be purchased through a central clearinghouse. These credits will provide necessary pollution reduction relief to a point source, such as a municipal wastewater treatment plant or cheese factory, to comply with further ratcheted requirements of their wastewater permit. Trades would take place within the largest hydrologic area possible while still resulting in a water quality improvement to the waterbody. 

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“Today’s vote helped to set Wisconsin on a course to create the first statewide water quality pollutant trading clearinghouse. While the goal is to create a reduction in nutrients entering waterways to help clean up our waters, these Pollution Prevention Partnerships would be beneficial to all Wisconsinites by having numerous ecological, financial, and recreational benefits. By bringing more farmers to the table and incentivizing them to implement proven land conservation strategies, coupled with the opportunity for industry to comply with permit requirements in a more cost effective manner, this bill has the potential to make a positive impact on our state’s environment and economy. I applaud the Assembly’s passage of Senate Bill 91, and look forward to the Governor’s action on this innovative approach to advance water quality and our rural economies. I hope to see this policy not only signed promptly, but implemented by the Administration during this growing season.”

2019 Senate Bill 91 has fostered the support of over 30 groups ranging from the Wisconsin Economic Development Association to Clean Wisconsin, League of Wisconsin Municipalities to Farm Bureau, and the Cheese Makers to Trout Unlimited. The state Department of Natural Resources, under the previous and current administrations, has also been intimately involved in the process and has expressed support for P3: Wisconsin’s Trading Marketplace. This legislation, after passing the Senate unanimously on May 15, 2019, now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.