1992; Kunreuther et al. 1993; Ashford and Rest 1999; English et al. 1993; Lynn 1988; NRC 1996; Rich et al. 1995; Hance et al. 1988). Although many important lessons are derived from this research, an essential component for successful implementation of a risk-based framework is the direct and early involvement of all affected parties, including the affected public, as full partners in all parts of the risk-management strategy, including goal setting, evaluating options, setting priorities, evaluating different risk-management strategies, and making a final decision.

This chapter summarizes concerns raised at the public meetings held by the committee during its deliberations. The chapter then discusses the need for community involvement, the benefits, how the community is defined to include both interested and affected parties, and ways to identify and involve the interested and affected parties in the decision-making process. In doing so, the committee presents results from the social science literature and the conclusions drawn by the committee based on the public meetings and on the wealth of information provided to the committee by community and environmental groups; state, tribal, and federal government agencies; and private companies and interests (see Appendix C for a list of these materials).


During the public sessions held in Washington, DC; Green Bay, WI, where the committee visited the Fox River; and Albany, NY, where the committee visited the Hudson River, the committee heard from grassroots community organizations, environmental groups, government agencies, commercial and industrial concerns, and the general public. Some of the following messages were conveyed to the committee at these meetings:

  • The public was dissatisfied with its level of involvement in the management efforts. Involvement was largely limited to commenting on draft documents provided by regulatory agencies. Little active involvement was observed. Participants made it clear that the regulatory agencies have to communicate with the public during all phases of the decision-making process, not just after a decision is made and the public is asked to comment on a completed plan.

  • There was concern about the lack of consideration of indigenous community issues. One speaker from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne described the cultural destruction and community breakdown suffered by Mohawk people, because the PCB contamination along the St. Lawrence River had resulted in fishing advisories, which forced his tribe to stop fishing.

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