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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (June 23, 1994)
NU to face EPA fines for waste violations
By Brain Sharp
The University of Nebraska has nowhere
else to go.
And the Environmental Protection
Agency will soon come knocking once again.
That’s how officials from both sides de
scribed the coming year for a relationship that’s
become somewhat tiresome.
Last week, NU finalized its latest settlement
with the EPA at a cost of $580,000. It marked
the third fine NU has received in the last four
The June 15 agreement came after NU was
cited for violating federal environmental regu
lations. Included in the violations was NU’s
storage of hazardous waste.
James Rhone, NU director of hazardous
waste, said that while the university has now
gotten itself in compliance will all EPA guide
lines, it may not last.
In one week, the only facil ity where NU ships
its low-level radioactive waste will close its
doors to the state. EPA guidelines say the waste
must be shipped within 90 days.
“We’re going to have to sit on it (the waste),”
Rhone said. “That could be a violation, even
though there’s no place else to send it.
The South Carolina facility is shutting Ne
braskans out because they haven’t held up their
end of the deal, Rhone said.
When Nebraska entered into a five-state
radioactive waste pact along with South Caro
lina several years ago, it was agreed that a
facility to similar to South Carolina’s would be
built in Boyd County. Recent reports show the
developer, US Ecology, is farming the land.
“South Carolina is saying ‘We only opened
to give you an opportunity to get things start
ed,’” Rhone said. “In other words, they’re try
ing to force us to do what we should have done
^^ Jason LevkuHch/DN
Wharehouse #1 is one of two buildings UNL uses to keep hazardous materials until they can be shipped out to various
centers for refining, incinerating or burial.
live years ago.
Now, NU is left to wait and wonder —
wonder if the EPA will hit them with more fines
for not getting rid of the radioactive waste.
Dale Armstrong, EPA spokesman forregion
VII, said the EPA will be back, NU can count on
“The university can expect repeated inspec
tions,” Armstrong said. “The whole purpose of
this system is not to go out and fine people, but
to make sure the hazardous waste is handled
Armstrong said that, ideally, a university
would be the place that sets an example when it
comes to following the environmental regula
That’s why when the hazardous waste laws
were changed (around 1986), NU was allowed
interim status for six years, Armstrong said.
The change in law required all companies to
get a permit, he said.
To handle the numerous appl icants, the EPA
first issued Part A permits, equalling interim
status. They then notified permit holders indi
vidually to send in the paperwork for a Part B,
or final, permit.
Armstrong said EPA officials worked their
way down the list, starting with those they felt
were of most concern. NU was close to the
But when they got to NU. Armstrong said,
the documents for the final permit were never
That’s because they were never sent.
Rhone said NU officials decided they didn’t
need the permit, figuring they could handle
shipping the hazardous waste themselves.
Rhone said that now, after further review,
they have filed for the permit.
If nothing else, NU can take comfort in the
fact that they’re not alone.
Armstrong said similar violations have been
found in other Big Eight schools, noting the
University of Missouri in particular for viola
See HAZARDOUS on 2
Financial aid fails to keep up with rising tuition costs
Funding drops as student eligibility increases
By Sean McCarthy
Stall Report* _
s the cost of tuition continues
to rise, federal aid programs
aren’t keeping up with rising
costs, said John Beacon, Director of
Scholarships and Financial Aid.
Proposed tuition rales for the 1994
95 school year include a 6.2 percent
rise in rates for resident students and
a 6 percent rise for nonresident stu
In a 1991 surveybyGallupPoll,87
percent of Americans believed that
college costs are rising at rate that
would make college out of reach for
most people. The cost of attending
college rose 77 percent for four-year
colleges from 1980 to 1990 according
to a report by the Office of Scholar
ships and Financial Aid. That same
report estimates that college costs will
consume approximately 20 percent of
an average median family income.
“People come in and grumble at the
financial aid office about the lack of
money, but they never take the time to
write their congressman about getting
more money,” Beacon said.
Federal State Student Incentive
Grants experienced a drop in the 1993
94 school year. They moved from
$190,856 in the 1992-93 school year
to $180,122 for 1993-94.
“As department budgets continue
to grow tighter, they are not able to
provide students with enough mon
ey,” said Beacon.
Federal Pell Grants also experi
enced a drop, from $8,342,387 for the
1992-93 school year to an estimated
$6,000,000 for the 1993-94 school
year, according to the financial aid
“What we have is an increase in the
eligibility for students to receive aid,
but not an increase in money,” Beacon
said. “Federal funds arc not able to
stretch the money for the time peri
Programs that experienced increas
es in the 1993-94 school year included
Federal Perkins Loans and Federal
Subsidized Loans. According to the
financial aid office, Stafford Loans
also increased from $17,120,794 in
1992-93 to $21,700,000 in 1993-94.
One of the reasons for this increase
is bigger loan limits. Beacon said. In
1992-93, the limit that a junior could
borrow from the programs was $4,000.
In 1993-94 that limit increased to
The Cost of College
% of Median
used for college
Projected cost and family income
indicates that college expenses will
consume 1/5 of family income.
Source: 1991 Gallup Poll
$5,500, Beacon said.
“Undergraduates can now borrow
as much as $23,000 in loan debts, but
you’re going to have to pay it off
sometime,” said Beacon. “Don’t feel
compelled to*takc the full amount of
money you are eligible for.”
A new way for students to pay off
See STUDENT AID on 2
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