. "Part 5: Integration of Science, Engineering, and Health in Program Implementation." Improving the Environment: An Evaluation of the DOE's Environmental Management Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1995.
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Improving the Environment: An Evaluation of DOE's Environmental Management Program
Issue: It is important to meld public concerns and scientific andtechnical information into decision-making.
Many of the decisions faced by the EM Program cannot be made strictly within a box created by scientific and technical information. Practical factors compel consideration of cost and other resource limitations (including sometimes those of regulatory agencies). Political factors that influence decisions include socioeconomic impacts, cultural demands, such policy issues as nonproliferation, and public concerns.
A decision that is not supported by sound scientific and technical understanding might not succeed or might result in unnecessary costs or risks. The challenge for EM managers is to bring together a variety of factors into a well-balanced, implementable decision. That is inherently a dynamic process in which the elements of individual decisions will vary with the nature of the activity (which can range from groundwater remediation to nuclear-material stabilization) and with local concerns.
The Department of Energy should seek to improve understanding and communication of the role of scientific and technical information relative to other factors in its decision-making. It should identify the role of public participation in the decision-making process. To be useful, public participation should be designed to address well-defined issues, occur early enough to influence outcomes, and have clear mechanisms for considering and responding to public comments.