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Press Release

Chriss Swaney

For immediate release:
October 18, 2004

Carnegie Mellon University To Host 14th Annual Society of Environmental Journalists Conference

PITTSBURGH—More than 600 journalists, scientists, educators, government officials, business leaders, environmental advocates and others will participate in the Society of Environmental Journalists 14th annual conference October 20-24 at Carnegie Mellon University. The conference, designed to improve and increase news coverage of environmental issues, will feature discussions by key policy decision makers, Hollywood celebrities and world-class environmental researchers.

The five-day conference kicks off Oct. 20 with a celebrity panel discussing how Hollywood influences environmental policy and policymakers from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the historic Pittsburgh Athletic Association in the city's Oakland section. Actors Ted Danson and Mimi Rogers, and Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, will participate in a discussion moderated by New York Times reporter Andy Revkin.

A series of mini-tours through environmentally historic western Pennsylvania will begin at 7 a.m. Oct. 21. Journalists will see and experience a cache of "Rustbelt" success stories, including the world's biggest and cleanest steel coking plant in Clairton, Pa., to treks to Johnstown to discuss dam removal issues and Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater house to discuss green building design.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Carnegie Museum Lecture Hall about the Bush Administration's environmental record.

The conference moves back to Carnegie Mellon at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 22 in the University Center with a welcome by University President Jared L. Cohon and a keynote speech by Gov. Michael Leavitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Saturday, Oct. 23, University Center program features a news-making plenary on "Science and Politics" at 11 a.m. The panel, moderated by National Public Radio's Ira Flatow, will discuss issues ranging from whether science is really apolitical to what the possible new scientific research standards will be from the powerful Office of Management and Budget. Other panel members for this plenary include Cornelia Dean, senior science writer of The New York Times; Paul Gilman, assistant administrator for research and development and agency science advisor for the U.S. EPA; Neal Lane, former director of the National Science Foundation and a professor at Rice University; Raymond Orbach, director of the science office at the U.S. Department of Energy; and Russell Train, chairman emeritus of World Wildlife.

In addition to these keynotes and plenary events, journalists will participate in more than 20 consecutive panels designed to debate everything from wastewater to climate change.

The conference taps the expertise of researchers from all over North America, including world-renowned Carnegie Mellon researchers such as Granger Morgan, head of a newly formed $6.9 million center designed to study the uncertainties inherent in climate change, and Chris Hendrickson and Lester Lave, co-directors of the university's Green Design Initiative.

Other conference panel experts include David Garman, assistant secretary at the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Christian Turner, first secretary, energy and environment for the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., and John Bachman, associate director of science for the U.S. Environmental Agency's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards.

An exhibit hall featuring more than 30 environmental booths and products will be open for traffic Oct. 22-23 in the University Center gym. Deadline press are invited to cover single events, but full participation requires conference registration. For complete details on the Carnegie Mellon/SEJ conference events, locations and registration, please see the Web site of the Society of Environmental Journalists at


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