Conference to Salute EPA's 25th

Columbia's Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC) will host an all-day conference marking the 25th anniversary of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wed., Dec. 6.

After 25 years of successful environmental policy development, which has resulted in cleaner air and water, the EPA is at a crossroads. Support for the agency is lagging in some quarters, and in the United States Congress, some lawmakers are taking steps to limit the agency's scope, mission and effectiveness. CERC was created at Columbia in the fall of 1994 to bring scientists and policymakers together to develop a common frame of reference for advancing solutions to environmental problems.

"Progress and Promise: 25 Years of Environmental Protection" will begin with remarks from Don Melnick, the director of CERC and professor of anthropology and biological sciences at Columbia, and Jeanne Fox, Regional Administrator of EPA Region II. The closing session will include remarks from President Rupp; Kathleen A. McGinty, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; James Florio, former New Jersey Governor, and Marilyn Gelber, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. They will address the challenges of assuring environmental quality on a national, state and local level.

Andrew Revkin of The New York Times; Paul Raeburn, science editor of the Associated Press; William Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News, and Steven Ross, associate professor at the Graduate School of Journalism, will participate in a panel on environmental journalism.

Twelve sessions will be held throughout the day on topics ranging from "Regional Environmental Policy Priorities" and "Sustainable Development" to "The Rise of Partnerships: Business, Government, Academic" The conference will foster discussion among members of governmental and non-governmental agencies, research and educational institutions, and private sector organizations about the state of environmental policy nationally and locally.

According to Melnick: "We have an opportunity in this conference to consider the achievements of the past 25 years in their proper scientific and societal contexts, in order to address the future of environmental policies and conservation initiatives into the next century. CERC was founded to carry out just this type of informed inquiry."

The conference, to be held at Ferris Booth Hall, will begin at 9:30 A. M. Registration begins at 8:30 A. M.

The Center for Environmental Research and Conservation is an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional center that unites scientific research with social and economic study. It is a consortium of five educational and research institutions: Columbia, the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Botanical Garden, the Wildlife Conservation Society and Wildlife Preservation Trust International.

CERC is based at Columbia, where it benefits from the University's existing network of first-rate scientific research institutions, including the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, one of the world's finest centers for the study of earth science, and the newest addition to the network, Biosphere 2, a unique laboratory for the study of global climate change, biodiversity and sustainable agriculture, located in the Arizona desert. The University is also linked to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, a key research institution for tracing global climate change. CERC is part of Columbia's Global Systems Initiative (GSI), which cuts across the traditional boundaries of academic disciplines to address issues of importance to society, such as the future challenges presented by global change.

CERC also integrates the expertise of other departments and schools at Columbia, including Columbia Business School, the School of International and Public Affairs, the Harriman Institute, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the School of Public Health, and Barnard College.

Information on registering for the conference is available through the World Wide Web at or by calling CERC at (212) 854-8186.

The conference is presented in cooperation with EPA Region II.

Columbia University Record -- December 1, 1995 -- Vol. 21, No. 11