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Southeastern Colleges and Universities Commit To EPA’s Voluntary Self-Audit Program

Release Date: 06/25/2007
Contact Information: Kara Belle (404)562-8322,

(ATLANTA – June 25, 2007) Today, EPA and Emory University hosted a signing ceremony for participating southeastern colleges and universities who have joined together and agreed to conduct voluntary self-audits under EPA Region 4’s College and University Compliance Incentive Initiative. The voluntary self-audits, performed pursuant to the Audit Agreement signed today will assist 101 private colleges and universities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, and three public universities in Alabama to achieve better compliance with environmental laws and regulations. Although not signatories to the June 25th agreement, there are approximately 100 other southeastern colleges and universities also pursuing voluntary self-audits under Region 4’s College and University Compliance Incentive Initiative.

“Colleges and universities are part of EPA’s regulated community, and often share the same regulatory responsibilities and experience similar environmental challenges as private industry and other government facilities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jimmy Palmer. “Through this compliance initiative, the voluntary self audits will help identify opportunities to solve many of their environmental challenges and save money over the long term.”

“Emory is honored to host the Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 for this event as the EPA works with Southeastern colleges and universities to ensure environmental compliance,” said James Wagner, President, Emory University. “Emory’s enthusiastic and steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability are integral to our mission. They represent the foundation of a healthy environment for teaching, learning and living at Emory. We look forward to working with the EPA to support their greater environmental goals.”

EPA Region 4 began a College and University Compliance Assistance Initiative in 2002 to assist colleges and universities, both private and public, in understanding and complying with environmental regulations. Potential environmental problem areas at colleges and universities include improper handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste; improper laboratory chemical storage; air quality problems; storm water run-off and wastewater discharge; inadequate underground storage tank management; dysfunctional sewage treatment facilities; and improper abatement of lead-based paint and asbestos.

After several years of educating colleges and universities about their environmental responsibilities, the EPA Region 4 College and University Compliance Incentive Initiative was launched earlier this year to encourage voluntary self-auditing pursuant to EPA’s Audit Policies. The EPA Audit Policies provide incentives for regulated entities that voluntarily discover, promptly disclose, and quickly correct violations that would otherwise be subject to enforcement, including financial penalties. For example, self-disclosure may result in a partial or complete reduction in financial penalties.