WASHINGTON (AP) — The costs of restoring the Chesapeake Bay could be cut as much as 80 percent through trading of pollution credits, according to a new study.

The study was presented Thursday in Washington to the Chesapeake Bay Commission, which advises state legislators in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Supporters say trading pollution credits can help lower the cost of the restoration, estimated at up to $15 billion in Maryland and Virginia. The system allows polluters to purchase credits for cuts made by others. Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia already have state programs, but a bay-wide program does not exist.

Critics say it allows polluters to shift reductions elsewhere, leading to poorer water quality in some areas. The commission says the study also highlights the need to ensure trading actually delivers cuts.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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