Green Buckeye RN


EPA Releases New Draft Voluntary Guidelines for Selecting Safe School Locations
December 1, 2010, 9:18 am
Filed under: News

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today
released draft voluntary guidelines to help communities protect the
health of students and staff from environmental threats when selecting
new locations for schools.

More than 1,900 new schools serving approximately 1.2 million children
and costing more than $13 billion opened in the 2008-2009 school year.
Major investments in our children’s schools can be compromised if
environmental hazards are not fully understood prior to selecting a
school site. The voluntary guidelines also provide tools to help
communities ensure that new locations for schools are accessible to the
students they are intended to serve.

“EPA is offering tools to local officials and community residents
looking to build schools that foster healthy, productive learning
environments,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This voluntary
guidance will help address the pressing environmental issues that
parents, school boards and local residents often consider when making
investments in their local schools.  By offering guidance on long-term
environmental and health concerns, it will also help local communities
plan ahead and reduce the risk of costly changes down the road.”

The potential impacts on children’s health and education, as well as the
damage to the community when school environmental hazards are later
identified, are significant. In some cases, schools have been closed and
in other cases have undergone costly remediation.

The new draft voluntary guidelines will give local communities tools to
help them consider environmental health issues in establishing school
site selection criteria and in conducting effective environmental
reviews of potential school sites.  The draft guidelines recommend
involving the public in the site selection process from the beginning to
help ensure community support for these decisions.

EPA developed the draft guidelines in consultation with other federal
agencies, states, school districts, community organizations, health care
professionals, teachers, as well as environmental justice leaders, and
children’s health and environmental groups, among others.

The draft school siting guidelines are being made available for public
comment for 90 days. Comments will be accepted until 4 pm EST on
February 18, 2011.

To view and comment on the draft guidelines:
http://epaschoolsiting.icfi.com/

More information on the draft school siting guidelines and on protecting
children’s health in existing schools: http://epa.gov/schools/

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