Public Participation in Environmental Statements

by Steven M. Fusco, Manager of Environmental Studies; URS Company, Seattle, Wash.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Water Resources Planning and Management Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 1, Pg. 123-129

Document Type: Journal Paper


Our involvement in several controversial projects since the passage of NEPA has resulted in the development of an effective methodology for public participation in the environmental assessment process. The methodology consists of seven elements. At the outset, a Methodology Document, written in lay terms, is distributed to interested parties. It describes the approach and critical issues of the proposed impact assessment. Comment is received on the Methodology Document and the approach is modified. During the process, the public is kept informed. The attitude of the general public is evaluated via surveys serving as a yardstick comparing those attitudes of the citizens who are actively involved in the process. The final element is the incorporation of public opinion into the development of an environmental impact matrix. The use of public opinion, via a procedure of providing quantifiable relationships, overcomes the major weakness of impact matrices, that is, the inability to incorporate a system of subjective values.

Subject Headings: Public participation | Environmental issues | Public opinions | Matrix (mathematics) | Geomatic surveys

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