Public Participation in Contaminated Communities
Author(s)Ashford, Nicholas A.; Rest, K.M.
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The present study examines seven current, ongoing cases of public participation across a broader spectrum of communities. In contrast to earlier notorious historical failures, such as those at Love Canal, Woburn, and Times Beach, the cases in this study explore experiences considered relatively successful by both the agencies and the communities. The study sought to better understand the determinants of successful public involvement in contaminated communities where: (1) site characterization, cleanup options, and economic redevelopment were issues of concern and conflict; (2) more than one federal agency was involved; (3) state and local agencies were also involved; and (4) environmental justice was often an issue. The purposes of the study were to: (1) identify those factors most important to, and essential for, successful community involvement, (2) evaluate or suggest initiatives to further enhance successful public participation, and (3) identify options for more successful interaction and coordination of federal, state, and local agencies in their efforts to promote environmental and public health goals in contaminated communities.The study focused on initiatives which: enhance communication, outreach, and learning in the community; build skills and capability in the community; and provide for increased community participation in, and access to, government decisions. Special attention was paid to public participation problems in economically disadvantaged and minority communities with disproportionate environmental burdens (i.e., environmental justice communities), and to mechanisms for improving interagency coordination at all levels of government.
Public Participation, Communities, Government, Cleanup contaminated communities, Stakeholder involvement/engagement, Superfund, National Priorities List
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