Bard News & Events

Press Release


Darren O'Sullivan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—One of the most challenging aspects of the North American Free Trade Agreement is addressing the environmental concerns—from toxic emissions and biodiversity issues to agricultural practices—that are continuously being raised as a result of the agreement. Jonathan Plaut, an educator and former corporate advisor, lawyer, and engineer, has been one of the United States's chief policy advisors on these issues. On Wednesday, April 3, as part of the Open Forum Series of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, Plaut will discuss the topic of "Sustainability: Trade and the Environment under NAFTA." His talk is free and open to the public and will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Room 102 of the F.W. Olin Humanities Building on the Bard campus.

Appointed by President Clinton, Plaut is the chair of the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) of the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation. Plaut is a visiting professor of public policy and the environment at Pennsylvania State University and is president of the board of Global Learning, a nonprofit environmental organization in New Jersey. He is the former director of environmental quality for AlliedSignal, Inc. In addition, Plaut is a former senior advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme in New York and former chair of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environment Committee.

"Many Americans have been skeptical, if not critical, of NAFTA impacts, in particular whether the provisions facilitate environmental pollution. The Joint Public Action Committee is an essential vehicle to advise the Council of Ministers and monitor compliance with the NAFTA side agreement on the environment," said Joanne Fox-Przeworski, director of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy. "Jonathan Plaut has been instrumental in ensuring that constructive cooperation is taking place between trade and environmental communities and that citizens can be heard and influence the process."

JPAC is composed of fifteen members, five each from Canada, Mexico, and the United States, who are appointed by their respective governments. Its members act independently and their responsibility is to provide the Council, which is composed of the environment ministers of each country, with their advice on all matters with the scope of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. JPAC's chair is elected for a one-year term and by rotation from among the members appointed for each country. For more information, log onto

The Bard Center for Environmental Policy was created in 1999 to promote education, research, and public service on critical issues pertaining to the natural and built environments. The primary goal of the Center is to improve the quality of environmental policies by facilitating the use of the best available scientific knowledge in the policy-making process at the local, regional, national, and international levels. The Open Forum series is sponsored by the Center as part of its commitment to make current and important environmental issues more accessible to the general public

The Center's newly established graduate program leads to either a master of science or a professional certificate in environmental policy. BCEP’s unique modular program offers an intensive course of study, grounded in the sciences as well as economics, law, ethics, and political institutions and including communication skills, leadership and financial training, and internships. Graduates are prepared for careers in nonprofit organizations, government, and the private sector. The students in the 2001–02 program come from across the nation and abroad, including China.

For more information about the Bard Center for Environmental Policy or the Graduate Program, call 845-758-7071, e-mail, or log on to

# # #


back to top

This event was last updated on 05-21-2003