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EPA and Pace University Sign Comprehensive Environmental Self-Audit Agreement; Seven Pace Facilities Involved

Release Date: 06/24/2003
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(#03072) New York, N.Y. -- Pace University, with campuses in New York City and Westchester and Orange Counties, has taken advantage of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’ s (EPA) innovative self-audit program with an agreement to conduct a comprehensive environmental audit of its seven campuses. The agreement continues EPA’s national initiative to help institutions of higher learning comply with environmental regulations. EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny and Pace University President David A. Caputo signed the agreement today at Pace’s Pleasantville, New York campus in one of the university’s laboratories in Dyson Hall.

“Colleges, universities and EPA reap positive results from environmental self audit agreements,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. “Pace will put procedures in place to protect people and the environment. The environmental quality on their campuses will improve. The agreement reduces or eliminates financial penalties if violations are disclosed and corrected and EPA resources are used effectively.”

“This agreement with EPA has many benefits,” said Pace University President David A. Caputo. “Students, faculty and staff will witness or practice procedures that protect the environment and safeguard the health of the Pace community and we think our graduates will keep this experience in mind as they pursue their own careers.”

Pace University, with an enrollment of more than 13,500 students, has agreed to undertake comprehensive environmental audits, self report any violations, correct deficiencies in its environmental management, and take steps to prevent recurrence of violations. EPA has agreed to waive gravity-based penalties for self-disclosed violations.

The agreement covers all major federal environmental programs including air, water, pesticides, solid and hazardous wastes, hazardous substances and chemicals, environmental response, emergency planning, Community Right-to- Know and toxic substances control. The audit agreement includes all buildings and facilities of Pace University located on seven campuses. Two facilities are in New York City: at One Pace Plaza, and 551 5th Avenue; four are in Westchester County: The School of Law and The Evelyn and Joseph Lubin Graduate Center in White Plains, The Pleasantville Campus, and The Briarcliff Campus in Briarcliff Manor; The Hudson Valley Center in New Windsor is in Orange County.

Pace has agreed to audit its facilities by September 30,2003 and submit its disclosure report to EPA by December 6, 2003.

This is EPA’s eighth self-audit agreement with a university in the region. Agreements have been signed with the Rutgers University system in New Jersey, the State University of New York (SUNY), Syracuse University, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, The City University of New York (CUNY), Clarkson University, and Canisius College.

The agreement with Pace is part of EPA’s Colleges and Universities Initiative, which has been in place since 1999. EPA established the initiative because many institutions of higher learning were not aware of their responsibilities under various environmental laws or had failed to implement strategies to comply with them. As part of the initiative, EPA sent letters to 365 colleges and universities in New Jersey, New York, and Puerto Rico, held free workshops to help colleges and universities comply, established a Web site that provides information about their duties under the law, and warned colleges and universities that EPA inspections of their facilities – with the risk of financial penalties – were imminent. EPA attempted to make the institutions aware of the agency’s Voluntary Audit Policy through which institutions can investigate and disclose environmental violations to the Agency and, as a compliance incentive, if the necessary conditions are met, receive a partial or complete reduction in financial penalties.

EPA continues to encourage colleges and universities to participate in the Colleges and Universities Initiative. To date, 27 colleges and universities in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico have come forward to disclose more than 50 violations to EPA. Most of them have been granted a 100% waiver of certain penalties totaling more than $2.4 million.

Previous complaints and settlements with penalties totaling approximately $1.5 million have been filed over the past fifteen months against eight colleges and universities in New Jersey and New York. The Colleges and Universities Initiative is an ongoing program with additional investigations anticipated.

EPA’s Voluntary Audit Policy

Colleges and Universities Initiative