Senate to pass bill streamlining pollution credits system

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Senate is scheduled to approve a bill designed to bolster and streamline the state's pollution credit-trading system.

The measure up for approval Wednesday would create a clearinghouse that supporters say would make it easier for large-scale polluters to trade credits with farmers, providing them with a new source of income.

Wisconsin law allows those who discharge pollutants directly into the environment to exceed allowable limits if they buy credits from those who pollute indirectly, like farmers.

Supporters say energizing the state's pollution-trading marketplace would save taxpayers the cost of upgrading public facilities to meet new phosphorus standards while also giving farmers a financial boost.

The credit-trading option was created in 1997 but hasn't caught on. The bill's authors say the measure could jump-start the credit marketplace, leading to better water quality.