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Long Island University Expands Its Program to Help High Schools Comply with Environmental Regulations

Release Date: 06/01/2004
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(#04077) New York, N.Y. -- Long Island University's (LIU) C.W. Post and Southampton Colleges have plans for an innovative environmental management program to teach high school faculty, custodial staff, and administrators how to comply with toxic substances, air and water regulations. The program grows out of a recent agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reached after LIU was cited at its C.W. Post campus for violations of federal and state laws governing the safe handling and storage of hazardous waste. LIU will also correct violations at the Southampton campus.

"The environment and the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff will benefit each time a high school improves its environmental practices," said Jane M. Kenny, EPA Regional Administrator.

LIU will spend at least $115,000 to develop a manual and present ten seminars at various locations throughout New York and New Jersey. The C.W. Post - Southampton project complements the high school hazardous waste education projects that Columbia University, Pratt Institute and LIU Brooklyn have previously agreed to conduct. In addition to complying with the hazardous waste laws and conducting the high school outreach project, the university will pay a penalty of $39,057 for the violations.

In a separate agreement, C.W. Post College agreed to correct any underground storage tank violations and pay a penalty of $73,244.

Over the past three years, EPA has inspected more than 44 colleges and universities and issued administrative complaints alleging hazardous waste violations at 14 colleges and universities in New Jersey and New York with proposed penalties totaling more than $2 million.

EPA established a program in 1999 to assist colleges and universities because it found that many were not aware of their responsibilities under various environmental laws. Under the program, EPA held seminars, distributed information and developed a Web site to help colleges and universities comply with environmental regulations. Colleges and universities in New Jersey, New York, and Puerto Rico can also volunteer to do environmental audits to investigate and disclose violations to the Agency and, if the necessary conditions are met, receive a partial or complete reduction in financial penalties.

To date, 76 colleges and universities in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico have come forward to disclose more than 800 violations to EPA. Most of them have been granted a 100% waiver of penalties totaling more than $2.4 million.