Nicholas A. Ashford
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Principal Investigator, and
Kathleen M. Rest
University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts
with contributions from Lupita Chapa, Brian McLaughlin, Andrew Weaver, and Christian Willauer, Project Manager for Field Studies
The research underlying this report was jointly supported by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through a cooperative agreement between MIT and EPA (Grant No CR819-086-01). The views expressed in the report do not necessarily represent those of ATSDR, DOE, EPA, or MIT.
Copyright 1999 Nicholas A. Ashford
The authors wish to thank Dr. Barry Johnson and Dr. Max Lum of ATSDR; Dr. Ted Meinhardt of NIOSH; Don Clay, Dr. Walter Kovalick, and Dr. Carolyn Offutt of EPA; and Cynthia Kelly, Dr. Carole Henry, and Tom Grumbly of DOE for encouraging and supporting this research. We are especially grateful to David Ouderkirk, Diana Hammer, and Jan Shubert of EPA, Dr. Ralph O'Connor of ATSDR, and Kitti Taimi, Don Beck, and Ted Eliopoulos of DOE who guided us in their capacities as project monitors and intellectual partners in the project. Our advisory committee, external reviewers, and final workshop participants challenged us, stimulated us, and provided us with valuable assistance throughout the project. We are also indebted to Chris Mascara for his patience and dedication to detail during the field work and for his invaluable assistance in organizing the project workshop and in the preparation of the final report.
But most of all, we are indebted to the individuals in each of the study communities who so graciously gave us their time and energy during the field investigation phase of the project. They answered our questions, shared their experiences and views, provided or directed us to other resources, stimulated our thinking, and contributed invaluable insights to our work. Although the findings and perspectives found in this final report are our own, we could not have done this work without our colleagues in the communities. We are sincerely grateful to each and every one.
The study examines seven current, ongoing cases of public participation across a broad spectrum of contaminated communities in which the experiences were considered relatively successful by both government agencies and the communities. The study sought to better understand the determinants of successful public involvement in communities where: (1) site characterization, cleanup options, and economic redevelopment were issues of concern and, in some cases, of 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 (1) provide for more, or more predictable, and better communication (2) build skills and capability in the community, (3) provide for increased community participation in, and access to, government decisions. Special attention was paid to public participation problems in low-income and minority communities with disproportionate environmental burdens (i.e., Aenvironmental justice@ communities), special attention was paid to mechanisms for improving interagency coordination at all levels of government.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (PDF)
I. INTRODUCTION (PDF)
A. Government Investigation and Cleanup of Contaminated Communities, and Community Responses
B. The Importance of Public Participation in Contaminated Communities
C. Multi-level Interagency Interactions and Problems of Coordination
D. Origins, Purposes, and Scope of the Study
A. Conceptual Framework of the Study
1. Iterative Stages of Activities in a Contaminated Community
2. Vehicles for Public Participation
3. Important Elements for Characterizing or Evaluating Public Participation Mechanisms
4. Focus of Our Analysis: Important Definitions and Distinctions
B. Case History Investigation
1. Criteria for Selection of the Cases
2. Activities Undertaken and Interviews Conducted at the Sites
3. The Case Histories
4. Feedback on Initial Drafts of the Case Histories from Government and Community Members
C. Analytic Methodology Used in the Case Histories
1. Satisfaction of the Community with the Outcomes
2. Satisfaction of the Community with the Process and Conflict Resolution
3. Our Criteria for Evaluation of Public Participation Mechanisms
B. What is Public Participation?
C. What is Successful Public Participation?
D. What Accounts for Success?
E. Mechanisms for Public Participation
F. Issues and Analysis
PART TWO -- CASE HISTORIES
South Valley (Albuquerque)
PART THREE -- LESSONS LEARNED
A. Providing for Broad-Based Outreach to, Communication with, and Education of the Community
B. Building Skills and Capability in the Community
C. Provide for Increased Community Participation in and Access to Government Decisions
1. Mechanisms for Sustained and Ongoing Public Participation
2. Mechanisms Designed for Intense, One-time or Short-duration Participation
A. A Word of Caution About Stakeholder Processes
B. Who Speaks for the Community?
C. Reflections on Community Satisfaction and the Role of Government at Contaminated Sites
D. What Contributes to Success?
1. Effective Public Participation Processes
2. Government and Community/Stakeholder Roles
E. Possible Relevance of the Research to the Brownfields Initiatives
F. Final Reflections and Commentary
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN CONTAMINATED COMMUNITIES
Case Histories (available as a separate volume; contact Professor Nicholas Ashford for more information).
South Valley (Albuquerque)