15.20.12.07

.07 Approval and Registration of Credits.

A. A person who applies to the Department for approval of agricultural nonpoint source nutrient or sediment credits shall:

(1) Complete and sign a Certification and Registration Form provided by the Department and furnish a copy of the Farm Summary Worksheet generated by MNTT;

(2) Provide a copy of the current NMP; and

(3) Provide a copy of the current SCWQP with a map identifying the location and boundaries of the operation and showing field identification numbers, field acreage, and the location of BMPs, together with the specifics of any credit generation proposal.

B. The Department shall review each application to determine the following:

(1) That the baseline requirements are met as provided in this chapter;

(2) That all credit generating improvements qualify for certification;

(3) That both the landowner and the operator have consented in writing to all of the requirements under this chapter, including but not limited to inspection or suspension or revocation of credits by the Department and the waiver of confidentiality for any information the operation submits to the Department, including but not limited to the operatorís NMP and SCWQP;

(4) That all legal and regulatory compliance requirements are met; and

(5) That credit calculations and all other information are correct and that the applicant has complied with all the requirements of this chapter.

C. The Department or its designee shall visit any farm operation to verify the baseline requirements and that the applicantís credit generation proposal is effective and appropriate in reducing the discharge of nutrients or sediment from the farm. In addition, credits certified pending implementation of a BMP or other improvement are subject to further inspection to verify that the proposed generating practice is in place and functioning correctly.

D. Proposals for improvements for generating credits will be reviewed by the Department and may include requirements for demonstration projects, the collection of sufficient data to evaluate results, and any other information needed to determine the validity of the credits. In some cases, development of the specifications and certification of the credits could be a multi-year process.

E. The Department may issue a pre-certification of credits based on pending implementation of the proposed improvements.

F. The Department shall only certify credits once the practice or practices generating those credits are installed and fully operational.

G. Upon approval and verification of any application for agricultural nutrient and sediment credits, the Department shall assign each credit a unique registration number and provide for their registration on the Departmentís online trading registry.

H. The Department shall document the basis for denying an application and provide this information in writing to the applicant.

I. As required by law, all records concerning the certification of credits shall be maintained by the Department and shall be made available for public review in accordance with requests made under the Maryland Public Information Act.