Public Participation in Environmental Assessment
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Note the Questions for Discussion "Qs:" Below
The National Research Council s Panel on Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making have released—in prepublication, draft form—a report that looks at the conditions under which such participation can get ultimately to the desired outcomes expected from the impact assessment process. The report notes that “Advocates of public participation believe it improves environmental assessment and decision making; detractors criticize it as ineffective and inefficient.”
In the report, “. . .[t]he term public participation, . . . includes organized processes adopted by elected officials, government agencies, or other public- or private-sector organizations to engage the public in environmental assessment, planning, decision making, management, monitoring, and evaluation. These processes supplement traditional forms of public participation (voting, forming interest groups, demonstrating, lobbying) by directly involving the public in executive functions that, when they are conducted in government, are traditionally delegated to administrative agencies. The goal of participation is to improve the quality, legitimacy, and capacity of environmental assessments and decisions.”
- How have you taken part in such environmental assessments; in particular, during scoping?
- How effectively do you feel your voice has been considered in assessments?
- How do you characterize your understanding of the term “desired outcomes”?