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EPA Signs Environmental Self-Audit Agreements with Nine New Jersey Institutions

Release Date: 06/19/2006
Contact Information: Jennifer May, 212-637-3658 or may.jennifer@epa.gov

(NEW YORK, N.Y.) Nine New Jersey colleges and universities will conduct comprehensive environmental audits of all their facilities throughout the state under new agreements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator, and John B. Wilson, President and CEO of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey, joined top officials from the nine schools at a signing ceremony today at Rutgers University’s Winants Hall in New Brunswick. Atlantic Cape Community College, Bloomfield College, Camden County College, Centenary College, College of Saint Elizabeth, Cumberland County College, Drew University, Georgian Court University and Saint Peter’s College have all agreed to examine and improve their environmental practices.

“Given that universities are preparing our future leaders and professionals, it is critical that they set a good example of responsible stewardship of the environment,” said Regional Administrator Steinberg. “The self-audit program is a great way for these schools to meet their environmental obligations to students, faculty and staff, as well as the local community.”

With today’s additions, more than 100 colleges in New Jersey and New York are participating in EPA’s self-audit policy program. In New Jersey alone, more than 125 violations have been voluntarily disclosed, more than 18,000 pounds of hazardous waste per year and 10,000 gallons of fuel oil are being properly managed. In addition to the faculty and staff at the nine colleges that have just signed up for the program, the nearly 55,000 students that attend these schools will be better protected.

The voluntary self-audit agreements are part of an EPA program to heighten awareness of the environmental obligations that colleges and universities face. The program was developed because many colleges and universities were not aware of their responsibilities under various environmental laws or had failed to implement effective compliance strategies. EPA has contacted all the colleges and universities in New Jersey inviting them to join the program. The agency provided free workshops and an informational Web site to alert them to their environmental compliance obligations under the law. EPA has also warned the schools that it can make unannounced inspections of facilities – with the risk of financial penalties.

EPA urged the schools to join the Agency’s voluntary self-disclosure program, an innovative effort to help facilities comply with EPA regulations by doing self-audits to assess compliance, to promptly disclose and correct environmental violations and to safeguard the public and the environment. If participants report and correct violations and take action to prevent recurrences, they are subsequently eligible to receive full or partial relief from penalties for voluntarily disclosed violations of EPA regulations.

The agreements cover 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.

Information on EPA's Voluntary Self-Audit Policy is available by visiting: www.epa.gov/compliance/incentives/auditing
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