Because there are differences in values and philosophical views, an open, clear, equitable, and inclusive process is essential.
More information about the sites' potential exposures and their hazards is, of course, always preferable to less information, but the absence of complete information should not be an excuse for lack of progress in site remediation.
In spite of some recent successes in collaborative efforts in remediation activities by DOE, the states, and other stakeholders, the workshop presentations clearly showed the need for fundamental rethinking and restructuring of how sites are assessed and priorities are set and of how the stakeholders interact with each other throughout the process. The recommendations contained in this report are intended to assist the DOE in this rethinking and restructuring.
Comments of the workshop were often directed at different factors influencing remedial action decisions. The committee has identified these as four different processes. They are risk assessment, risk management, the overall decision-making process (which may or may not utilize issues of risk, but may include factors such as the economic benefit of remediation efforts within the local community), and public participation. The committee notes that these four processes axe all utilized in the remediatiation of DOE sites. These processes occur simultaneously and commonly interact with one another (see Figure 3-1). Each requires information from the others, and each needs to provide information to the others. Indeed, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish the boundaries between them. Therefore, even though the committee focused its deliberations on risk assessment, we include the other processes in our recommendations because they are essential to the implementation of an effective environmental remediation program based on risk assessment.
Risk assessment, which is the technical assessment of the nature and magnitude of risk, is always distinguished from risk management, which uses information from risk assessment together