Plans for Queens School to be Built on Toxic Site to be Discussed Today at Pace

Pace University biology student Alessia Eramo, with her professor and mentor, James M. Cervino, Ph.D. and the chair of the Pace biology department, Richard Schlesinger, Ph.D., will be holding a town hall style meeting with the city’s School Construction Authority (SCA) and local government officials to discuss a proposed school in Queens to be built on a toxic site or “brownfield” and to present the results of studies they conducted at the site at the request of New York State Senator Frank Padavan. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, brownfields are real estate “the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence … of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”

MEDIA ADVISORY

Contact:
Cara Halstead, Public Information Officer, Pace University
914-773-3312 Office, 914-906-9680 Cell, chalstead@pace.edu

PLANS TO BUILD A SCHOOL ON A TOXIC SITE IN QUEENS
TO BE DISCUSSED AT PACE UNIVERSITY

Analysis of the New York State Department of Conservation Clean-up proposal to be presented to city’s School Construction Authority by Pace researchers

NEW YORK, NY, April 11, 2007 – Pace University biology student Alessia Eramo, with her professor and mentor, James M. Cervino, Ph.D. and the chair of the Pace biology department, Richard Schlesinger, Ph.D., will be holding a town hall style meeting with the city’s School Construction Authority (SCA) and local government officials to discuss a proposed school in Queens to be built on a toxic site or “brownfield” and to present the results of studies they conducted at the site at the request of New York State Senator Frank Padavan. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, brownfields are real estate “the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence … of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”

To be called the Gateway School, the new structure is planned for a site on Goethals Ave. between 160th and 161st Streets in Jamaica, Queens.

WHAT: Presentation of toxicology research to the School Construction Authority and the public

WHEN: Thursday, April 12, 12:00pm

WHERE: Pace University, downtown New York City campus (near City Hall), 41 Park Row, Dyson Conference Room, 16th floor

WHO: Pace University researchers presenting to the city’s School Construction Authority, Queens government officials, and other concerned parties. This meeting is free and open to the public. Media admission is by press pass.

Cervino, a marine pathologist who is also a post doc researcher with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Cape Cod, MA, was asked by Senator Frank Padavan (R) NY to analyze the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) clean-up proposal of the site. Pace biology department chair, Richard Schlesinger, Ph.D., will also be on hand to answer questions regarding human health concerns pertaining to the site and the proposed sub slab depressurization system, designed to eliminate soil gas, to be installed after the toxins are removed.

BACKGROUND: Soil samples were collected in 2001 and 2002 and then again in 2005 and 2006 at the request of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). After a remedial action plan was developed by the SCA and input received from the NYSDEC, the plan was approved by the DEC. Recent soil vapor samples analyzed by the Pace researchers revealed hazardous chemical substances remain including fuel, medical waste and cleaning chemicals. Although there are provisions in the SCA plan for removing these hazardous substances, the Pace researchers have found additional issues that should be resolved to minimize the health risks associated with them.

Pace, EPA sign environmental self-audit

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.

Contact: (EPA) Teresa Ippolito (212) 637-3671
(Pace) Chris Cory, 212-346-1117, cell 917-608

FOR USE JUNE 26 OR THEREAFTER
Photos of event in Pace bio lab available on request

EPA AND PACE UNIVERSITY SIGN COMPREHENSIVE
ENVIRONMENTAL SELF-AUDIT AGREEMENT.
SEVEN PACE FACILITIES INVOLVED

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.

Pace is the 10th largest university in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

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. We think our graduates will keep this experience in mind as they pursue their careers.”

Pace University, with an enrollment of more than 14,000 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.

More information on EPA’s Voluntary Audit Policy is available at http://www.epa.gov/region02/capp/cip/. The Web site for the Colleges and Universities Initiative is http://www.epa.gov/region02/p2/college/

N.Y. Governor George Pataki Credits Pace University Students During Earth Day Address

New York Governor George E. Pataki today credited Pace University students with assisting in his newest initiative to clean up the Hudson River. During an Earth Day address on the Beacon, N.Y., waterfront, Pataki announced that New York will ask the federal government to designate a section of the Hudson River a “no discharge” zone. Pace students’ research demonstrated that a 153-mile stretch of the river would likely qualify for the Environmental Protection Agency designation. The “no discharge” designation, based on the number of adequate pump out facilities, would prohibit boats from dumping sewage in the Hudson River.

Contact: Public Affairs
(212) 346-1637

Pace University Political Science Class Drafts Proposed Environmental Bill,
Lobbies Albany to Protect Hudson River

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y., April 22, 1999 — New York Governor George E. Pataki today credited Pace University students with assisting in his newest initiative to clean up the Hudson River. During an Earth Day address on the Beacon, N.Y., waterfront, Pataki announced that New York will ask the federal government to designate a section of the Hudson River a “no discharge” zone. Pace students’ research demonstrated that a 153-mile stretch of the river would likely qualify for the Environmental Protection Agency designation. The “no discharge” designation, based on the number of adequate pump out facilities, would prohibit boats from dumping sewage in the Hudson River.

The students also worked with Assemblyman Richard Brodsky resulting in a bill (Assembly 958a) that would require the State Department of Environmental Conservation to maintain the number of pump out facilities required by the EPA. The New York State Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee passed the bill unanimously this week. The student-inspired bill, “Hudson River Marine Sanitation Act,” was amended from a statewide initiative proposed and defeated for at least the past 20 years.

So, for all those cynics who believe that Generation Xers are apathetic to social causes – meet the students in Professor Greg Julian’s and John Cronin’s political science class at Pace University. These “20-somethings” conducted extensive research, amended an environmental bill and lobbied state senators and local assembly members in an effort to prevent boats from dumping sewage into the Hudson River.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about public policy in a democracy by practicing citizen advocacy,” Julian said.

“Issues in Public Policy: The Hudson River,” is co-taught with Hudson Riverkeeper John Cronin, an Environmental Studies Lecturer in Pace University’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. The class introduced students first hand to the political process: their efforts included face-to-face lobbying of state senators and assembly members in Albany; providing every marina along the Hudson River with a grant application for proposed funding toward pumpout facilities; and constructing a class Website to highlight the students’ activities: http://webpage.pace.edu/pol222

During the semester, the class sponsored a series of guest lectures to learn how to advocate for the environment and actively collaborate to write legislation. The series featured five of New York State’s leading advocates, including John Cahill, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Chris Meyer, director of New York Public Interest Research Group, Pete Seeger, musician, songwriter, and founder of Clearwater movement, Richard Brodsky, chair of the New York State Assembly Environmental Conservation Commission, Judith Kimerling, renowned author, professor and environmental lawyer, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental litigator and Pace University law professor.