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5 Integrating Analysis and Deliberation As detailed in the previous two chapters, well-informed risk decisions depend on both analytic and delib- erative processes. Although this is widely recognized, there are some common misunderstandings about the roles of the two processes. One is that analysis and deliberation proceed in a sequence-for example, that deliberation is used to make decisions after risk analysis has been com- pleted. Another is the idea that knowledge comes only from analysis and that the role of deliberation is solely in making decisions. In fact, how- ever, both analysis and deliberation have contributed and can contribute to each step of the process leading to risk decisions. Both are processes for increasing understanding about existing phenomena and estimating fu- ture conditions. Both are also ways of informing, constructing, and test- ing judgments about the validity of evidence and the appropriateness of decisions not only substantive ones, but also the many procedural and methodological ones that lead to effective risk characterization. Thus, both analysis and deliberation are useful in every step leading to risk characterization, and participants in risk decisions are likely to be better informed if the two processes are combined in appropriate ways. Finding the appropriate balance and interaction for each step and each decision context is the challenge. We cannot prescribe a standard procedure for meeting this challenge. Rather, organizations need to be creative and flexible when devising pro- cesses to engage and inform the participants in decisions. We recognize that one of the greatest difficulties of doing risk characterization is tailor 118
INTEGRATING ANALYSIS AND DELIBERATION 119 ing an approach that is effective, efficient, and appropriate for the specific risk and the social and institutional conditions surrounding the risk deci- sion. This requires judgment on the part of the responsible officials. This chapter offers some guidance and experience on how to integrate analysis and deliberation at each major step, to inform those judgments. It also addresses one of the key practical problems in risk analysis and character- ization the tension between the desire for more analysis and delibera- tion and the need to reach closure. Chapter 6 offers guidance on how to match the analytic-deliberative process to the needs of specific decisions. We emphasize at the outset that the most extensive forms of analytic- deliberative process are appropriate in only a relative few instances. These instances, however, have an importance disproportionate to their num- ber, and it is not always evident in advance when a risk characterization will require extensive deliberation, integrated with analysis. For example, it is appropriate to develop standard procedures that can be used to char- acterize the risk associated with large classes of routine and narrow- impact decisions, and it may be appropriate to do the same for some classes of repeated decisions with wider impact, such as siting power plants (see Chapter 6~. But such choices to routinize should themselves be matters of broad deliberation to ensure that any resulting routines will meet the needs of public officials for information and of the interested and affected parties for information and participation. The appropriate breadth of participation in an analytic-deliberative process also depends on the situation. One important factor is whether particular parties are likely to be affected by a decision: the organization responsible for the risk characterization should consider including poten- tially affected parties even if they do not yet realize they may be affected. Another factor may be the level of trust the parties have in the commit- ment and ability of the technical experts and the decision-making organi- zations to protect them. It may be, for example, that the U.S. airline industry and its regulators enjoy greater public trust at present than the U.S. chemical industry and its regulators, so that broad inclusion may be a greater practical necessity for characterizing the effects of technical deci- sions about chemical risks than about aircraft risks. Levels of trust change, of course, and inappropriate decisions to limit participation sometimes contribute to loss of trust. This chapter illustrates integration of analysis and deliberation with examples linked to particular steps of the process that informs risk deci- sions. (See Figure 1-2, page 28, for a representation of the steps in the risk decision process.) The examples are offered as illustrations only, not as specific prescriptions for future use. In many of these examples, careful evaluations were not done; moreover, there are no clear definitions of success available for the parts of the analytic-deliberative process. In
120 UNDERSTANDING RISK: INFORMING DECISIONS IN A DEMO CRITIC SOCIETY addition, some of the efforts we describe are themselves controversial, a fact that illustrates the difficulty of designing an effective analytical-delib- erative process for informing potentially contentious risk decisions. We nevertheless consider the examples instructive for practitioners who are trying to organize risk characterization in ways that take advantage of the strengths of both analysis and deliberation. Although the examples are specific to particular steps of the process, it is important for the entire process to attain coherence, in the sense that the participants in the decision understand the procedures and find them sensible. Examples in this chapter show that coherence can be achieved in various ways. The Florida Power Corporation (also see Appendix A) used repetitions of a similar procedure to move from a long list of options to a recommended site for its proposed power plant; the three-step pro- cess (Renn et al., 1993) uses different procedures at different steps, with organized interests taking the lead in the first step, technical experts in the second, and randomly selected citizens in the third. Although neither of these approaches has been used often enough to recommend it confi- dently for adoption, each may nevertheless be useful as a source of ideas for officials charged with organizing risk characterization efforts. PROBLEM FORMULATION Problem formulation can be contentious because the way a risk prob- lem is framed partially determines the way risks are analyzed and under- stood, thus affecting decisions (see, e.g., Vaughan and Seifert, 1992~. For example, a problem having to do with waste disposal might be framed as one of too much waste, too little recycling, or too little disposal capacity. Such problem framings may be linked to interest positions. In this case, for instance, waste haulers usually prefer to solve the problem of inad- equate disposal capacity rather than solving the problem of excessive waste generation. In practice, however, it is not always easy to determine how a problem formulation affects one's interests. What once seemed to be the most desirable solution may not seem so after the affected parties have had an opportunity to present their knowledge and perspectives. Both analysis and deliberation can aid in problem formulation. Analysis has often provided the first news that a hazard may exist, and it can supply much useful information about the nature of the hazard, as well as about the feasibility and likely consequences of different ways of eliminating or mitigating it. Deliberation that includes interested and affected parties sometimes elicits ways the problem could be redefined, as well as insights about which problem definitions are likely to be widely accepted. The following example, from a regulatory negotiation on disin- fectant by-products sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection
INTEGRATING ANALYSIS AND DELIBERATION 121 Agency (EPA), illustrates how deliberation among the parties, informed by analysis, was used to help frame the risk decision problem. (As the more detailed case description in Appendix A shows, this regulatory ne- gotiation also combined analysis and deliberation in accomplishing other tasks.) The regulatory negotiation on disinfectant by-products which are drinking water contaminants involved representatives of major "stake- holder" groups in a process aimed at advising the EPA on proposing rules for regulation. Disinfectants, mainly chlorine, are used in drinking water to kill microbial pathogens; they react chemically with naturally occurring organic compounds in the water to produce by-products that . . are carcmogewc. The negotiating committee soon uncovered disagreement about the nature of the decision problem. A previous EPA report had framed the problem as a risk-risk tradeoff: reduction of risk from the by-products was linked to an increase in microbial risk. Thus, a change to nonchlorine disinfectants would reduce the risk from certain by-products, but it might increase risks from pathogens or other disinfectant byproducts whose effects were not well studied or understood. Although most members of the negotiating committee agreed that some type of rule was needed, not all were ready to accept EPA's definition of the problem as a risk-risk tradeoff that could only be resolved by setting and enforcing "maximum contaminant levels" for disinfectant by-products. Some believed that a reduction of by-product precursors in the water would reduce the need for disinfectants, thereby side-stepping the risk-risk tradeoff. They wanted the committee to consider a pollution prevention approach aimed at eliminating the organic precursors of the by-products-naturally oc- curring humic and fulvic acids that react with disinfectants to produce dangerous by-products. Theoretically, the problem would disappear if precursors could be removed before the water had to be treated. Precur- sors can be reduced though watershed protection measures (which pre- vent these precursors from ever becoming highly concentrated in the water reservoir) or by pretreatment filtration (which removes precursors before the disinfectant is added). The idea that disinfectant by-product precursors could be reduced through improved watershed management or the addition of a removal technology was attractive to some. This led to proposals to investigate enhancing the existing Surface Water Treat- ment Rule as a means of controlling disinfectant by-product precursors. The negotiating committee realized that more data and analysis might help it decide whether a reformulation of the problem could yield more acceptable and protective solutions. The committee called for assistance from the technical advisory committee, a group of scientific and technical experts that had been appointed at the start of the process to support the
122 UNDERSTANDING RISK: INFORMING DECISIONS INA DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY analytical needs of the negotiating committee. The technical advisory committee organized a technical workshop to inform negotiating com- mittee members on the range of scientific opinions about health risks, treatment technologies, costs, and modeling efforts. Twenty-three na- tionally recognized experts on drinking water treatment gave presenta- tions and participated in panel discussions for the benefit of the negotiat- ing committee. As questions arose during the negotiations, these experts gave additional presentations or testimony. The analysis did not lead the committee to accept a single problem formulation, largely because both formulations were supportable. While watershed protection was attractive, new data suggested that it would not be sufficient for controlling disinfectant by-products. Some form of contaminant rule would also be necessary. The negotiating committee was able to proceed without consensus on the problem because, by using deliberative methods, it was able to agree on a set of criteria for an accept- able solution. In professionally facilitated open discussions, the commit- tee produced a list of value objectives to be considered in the decision- making process. This included such items as protection of human health, protection of environmental equity, sensitivity to needs of susceptible populations, consistency with EPA rules, and affordability. These criteria were later used as a basis for discussing proposed rules. In the end, the committee proposed both a pollution prevention rule and a maximum contaminant level rule an outcome not anticipated before the analytic- deliberative process began. PROCESS DESIGN Process design determines who participates, what their roles are, how analysis will be organized and used, and how procedural rules can be changed. One of the most important goals of process design is to devise procedures that are acceptable to the interested and affected parties. Ob- taining agreement on a decision process at the outset from those who will be affected by the decision can significantly affect the acceptability of the outcome (Crowfoot and Wollendeck, 19901. Analysis and deliberation can complement each other in achieving two of the main objectives of process design: determining who should be involved in risk characteriza- tion and planning for the appropriate use of analytical techniques. Analysis can help choose participants in at least two ways. First, it can help identify the affected parties. Analysis of exposure pathways, dose-response relationships, subpopulation vulnerabilities, the distribu- tion of economic and social impacts, and the like can identify parties who should be involved, even if they did not know themselves to be affected. Analysis of the same factors can also provide reasonable tests of parties'
INTEGRATING ANALYSIS AND DELIBERATION 123 claims to be affected. Second, analysis of legal obligations can clarify the fundamental requirements of public participation who is required by law to participate and who has standing to challenge decisions about participation. Deliberative techniques are also essential for choosing participants. They can be used to address such questions as the following: How much representation should each interested or affected party have in the group performing a particular task relevant to risk characterization? Who should make this decision? When an affected party has no obvious repre- sentative (e.g., future generations), how should its interests be repre- sented? What kinds of expertise should be included in the group respon- sible for each task? A deliberative tool such as a citizen advisory committee might be used to agree on answers to such questions and to select principles for choosing participants for each subsequent phase. A broadly based process that includes analytic specialists and others can improve planning for the appropriate use of analysis to support a risk characterization. Among the most important judgments is the one about which aspects of a risk situation to analyze. The California Comparative Risk Project, which attempted to rank issues for the purpose of setting statewide policy priorities, illustrates a process design that provided for feedback between analysis and deliberation to inform choices about what to analyze. The California Environmental Protection Agency's initial pro- cess design, resulting from its diagnosis of the task, sharply separated analysis and deliberation by assigning them to different groups of com- mittees that would interact only toward the end of the process (see Ap- pendix A). When the project began, some participants criticized this pro- cess design on the ground that without early input from nontechnical people, the technical committees might fail to address important issues, such as equity in the distribution of risks. The California agency re- sponded by redesigning the process to allow for more crossfertilization between the technical committees and those emphasizing social and eco- nomic concerns. An immediate result was increased analytical attention to social equity outcomes. A longer term result was more open debate about the proper place of such considerations in risk analysis in Califor- nia, a debate that resulted in the governor's distancing himself from the study's findings and recommendations. The Future Site Uses Working Group organized at the U.S. Depart- ment of Energy's (DOE) Hanford site in Washington State provides an- other example of how analysis and deliberation can be combined in pro- cess design (see Appendix A). The DOE decided to seek widespread participation in planning its environmental impact assessment for the site. Deliberation among DOE, EPA, the Oregon and Washington state governments, and county and tribal governments of the region produced
124 UNDERSTANDING RISK: INFORMING DECISIONS INA DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY a list of potential participants for a broadly based working group that would help in this planning. An early analytic activity involved a set of interviews with prospective members of the group to get names of other possible members and ideas for process design. The main deliberative tool was the working group itself. The group, which consisted of repre- sentatives of various interested and affected parties, decided that its main task was to identify alternative scenarios for cleanup and future site use, and focused on how these would be connected. Its deliberations included its own meetings, outside review at a series of public meetings, and con- sultations between its members and their constituencies. The result was that the group specified a set of outcomes to be addressed in subsequent analyses (the environmental impact assessment), and identified outcomes of concern in relationship to particular future uses. Thus, the group's deliberation fed into the environmental impact assessment by suggesting directions the analysis should take. SELECTION OF OPTIONS AND OUTCOMES The discussion of problem formulation has already suggested ways in which analysis and deliberation together can help in choosing which actions to consider. In the disinfectant by-products negotiation, defining the problem as a risk-risk tradeoff implied analyzing various limits on maximum contaminant levels, whereas defining the problem in terms of controlling disinfectant by-product precursors suggested different op- tions, including watershed protection and filtration. Analysis and deliberation can also work together to generate options when the problem is well defined. Numerous examples come from the siting of hazardous facilities. Initially, a very wide area may be open for consideration. Analysis can reduce the options by use of exclusionary criteria that may be legal in nature (e.g., covering National Parks, wet- lands, and other protected areas) or physical (e.g., based on the size, geology, or hydrogeology of the site). Deliberative groups, such as advi- sory committees and citizens' panels, can help develop exclusionary crite- ria that are not legally or technologically mandated. They allow consider- ation of diverse, sometimes competing decision criteria, many of them associated with different interests (e.g., industrial versus residential de- velopment), values and principles (e.g., one group wants to protect agricultural heritage and another defends property owners' rights to de- cide), or tendencies to be risk averse under uncertainty (e.g., people may differ, given the same information, about whether a 100-foot setback from a water supply well is far enough to protect drinking water quality). In 1989, when the Florida Power Corporation (FPC) sought a site for a new coal-fired power generation station, it used a phased site selection
INTEGRATING ANALYSIS AND DELIBERATION 125 process that combined analytical tools and deliberative processes to find a site in a large search area that included the entire state of Florida and the southern portions of Georgia and Alabama (see Appendix A). An initial set of exclusionary criteria developed by FPC staff and consultants re- duced the search to 172 potential areas. Four subsequent phases of the process excluded sites on the basis of additional criteria that emerged from two related deliberations: one involved FPC staff; the other in- volved an environmental advisory group composed of community lead- ers in the search region, including leaders of environmental and business groups and past officials of local and state governments. These delibera- tions generated additional exclusionary criteria and assigned them weights. These outputs were shown to both groups, and the FPC group revised its judgments to move them closer to those of the advisory group. The consulting firm then applied the exclusionary criteria and weights to information about the sites and reduced the number of sites, in steps, from 172 to 61, to 21, to 6, and finally to 1 preferred site and 2 alternates. Analytical and deliberative processes can also be combined to help decide which outcomes to examine. The California Comparative Risk Project and the Hanford Future Site Uses Working Group both illustrate the role of deliberation in making such decisions. A hypothetical example can further clarify this process. Suppose a state agency is considering a rule to regulate exposure to radon from water wells with high radon concentrations. It is considering whether to require owners of seriously affected water wells to install radon-removal systems before selling their properties. Many outcomes of radon exposure might be serious enough to affect the decision: health effects on water users, impacts on property value, costs of implementation to homeowners, health and safety risks of installation, the socioeconomic and racial equity of the proposed rule, compliance considerations, and undoubtedly others. Which of these de- serve careful analysis? It may not be reasonable, responsible, or neces- sary to study all of them. Analysis can help by giving a preliminary indication of the magni- tude of particular outcomes. Analysis of the distribution of exposure to water from high-radon wells along economic, racial, or geographic lines would indicate whether or not any of these are potential concerns. Such an analysis would use statistical, epidemiological, or economic techniques. Analysis using public opinion surveys, focus groups, or interviews may help with other issues, such as compliance and the potential effects of a rule on property values. Deliberation involving interested and affected parties may help by identifying previously unrecognized possible adverse outcomes that may require further analysis. For example, farmers may ask about radon up- take and damage to farm animals and farm families. Many farms use
126 UNDERSTANDING RISK: INFORMING DECISIONS IN A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY only well water. Deliberation may also help in defining the criteria to use for choosing which of the potentially significant outcomes deserve sig- nificant analytic attention. A state agency might use a variety of delibera- tive strategies, including public meetings in regions of the state where radon in water is a problem; formal public workshops, including educa- tional sessions and group discussions; or a broadly representative state- wide advisory committee. An organization's final decision on allocation of research efforts needs to build on both deliberation and analysis so that it reflects both informed public opinion and the best expert knowledge. It needs to take into ac- count both the information desired by affected parties and the informa- tion that public officials and affected parties will need in the future, given the best understanding of the risks. INFORMATION GATHERING AND INTERPRETATION The role of analysis in providing information for informing risk deci- sions is well known and has been the subject of many volumes of re- search. Here we discuss the role of deliberative processes, particularly those that include interested and affected parties, and their integration with analysis. Integration can occur in two key ways: deliberation can frame analysis and deliberation can interpret analysis. Broadly based deliberative processes can raise questions, suggest alternative ways to interpret or frame issues, generate hypotheses, or provide data as input to an analysis of a risk situation. For example, individuals with specialized knowledge about actual operations in organ- izations engaged in hazardous activities (e.g., nuclear power plant opera- tors, air traffic controllers, coal miners) can identify variables to include in exposure analyses. Interested and affected parties can also provide essen- tial information about what must be analyzed if a risk characterization is to meet those parties' needs for understanding. In the Florida Power Corporation's siting process (see Appendix A), the broadly based environmental advisory group identified an outcome condition that did not appear on the company experts' initial list, but that became pivotal to the final choice. Their key concern was with what came to be called "proximity to disturbed areas"- that any power plant be sited not only far from people, but also close to areas that had already been environmentally a~srurbea, so as to preserve pristine areas from development. All the possible sites were then rated on proximity to dis- turbed areas, and that information strongly influenced the outcome. In the South Florida ecosystem management case (see Appendix A), scien- tists who had contact with interested and affected parties expressed what they understood to be the parties' informational needs and concerns in ~· . 11 1 - . 1 1
INTEGRATING ANALYSIS AND DELIBERATION 127 the deliberation about how to conduct the analysis, with the result that the analysis took into account not only ecological effects, but also various social and economic effects. Similarly, the Hanford Future Site Uses Working Group deliberated about what issues to address in an environ- mental impact analysis. Broadly based, scientifically informed deliberations are also useful for considering the meaning of available information about a risk. In fact, such deliberations are often critical to achieving an understanding that will make a risk characterization credible to its various users and audi- ences. The reports from the South Florida ecosystem restoration project and the group Delphi process we describe in the next section reflect such deliberations among groups of scientific and technical experts who bring a variety of perspectives to an issue, consider a body of knowledge, and try to arrive at agreement on what it means for decision makers. Citizens' juries (see Appendix B) and the citizens' panels we describe below are broad nonspecialist groups that arrive at interpretations of technical knowledge by a deliberative process that is informed by testimony from specialists. SYNTHESIS OF INFORMATION Critical to the success of risk characterization is the task of synthesiz- ing the state of knowledge about the risk situation. Synthesis may in- volve a final written document, but it can also take other forms, such as an oral presentation, an interview, or an expert workshop. In the regulatory negotiation over disinfectant by-products, oral presentations to the nego- tiating committee were supplemented with written reports. The test of success is how well the synthesis meets the needs of the range of partici- pants in the decision. Various analytic tools can be used to summarize information about risks. These include ordinary statistical techniques, techniques for esti- mating and representing uncertainty, and mathematical models of risk situations that organize the best available data into forms usable for policy analysis. These techniques are not usually integrated with broadly based deliberation or even made "user friendly" for members of interested and affected groups who lack strong technical backgrounds, but there are ways to do so. The "three-step model" developed by Renn and his colleagues has been used with some success in Western Europe to structure national policy debates and to inform decisions about siting waste disposal facili- ties (Renn et al., 1991, 1993~. This model illustrates how deliberation and analysis can be coordinated at various phases of a public decision-making
128 UNDERSTANDING RISK: INFORMING DECISIONS INA DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY process, including synthesis. Each of the model's three steps coordinates analysis and deliberation. In the first step, project staff interview representatives or key mem- bers of interested and affected groups, and sometimes also conduct con- tent analyses of newspapers, to generate a tentative formulation of the problem, a list of decision options, a listing of the values or interests that might be affected by the decision to be made, and a list of outcomes to evaluate. The participants need not agree about which values or out- comes to put on the list: at this stage, any outcome suggested by one of them is included. In the second step, technical experts assess how each choice option may affect each outcome on the list. For instance, in one application relating to the siting of a landfill, technical experts were asked to assess risks and uncertainties in terms of the adverse outcomes identified as important by the potentially affected groups. Project staff identify the experts by conducting interviews, reviewing the literatures, and taking suggestions from agency staff and interested and affected parties. The experts conduct their work using a face-to-face structured communica- tion technique called a group Delphi, which iterates individual responses and group discussions in an effort to seek consensus and define disagree- ment (Webler et al., 1991~. The group Delphi combines analysis with a deliberation among the experts. The results of the group Delphi are sum- marized in two ways: in a written report presenting the experts' quanti- tative estimates of risk and uncertainty, and in video-taped testimonies made by scientists with different views, which show the differences in judgments about how the data should be interpreted are summarized. In the third step, the videos (or sometimes direct testimony) are pre- sented to panels consisting of representative or random samples of the affected citizens. The citizens' panel or panels take part in a series of working sessions during which they learn about the scientific analysis of the problem from experts, who may not agree with each other. The citi- zens' panels may also solicit more analysis or conduct their own inquir- ies. In these sessions, the panelists gain an understanding of the risk situation and, after considering the possible outcomes and the expert judgments about their likelihood given each option, they deliberate and make recommendations about the final decision. The recommendations are given to the responsible agency which, ideally, has made a prior com- mitment to implement the panel's recommendations if at all feasible. The three-step model illustrates some ways to integrate analysis and deliberation to summarize the state of knowledge about a risk situation: the group Delphi uses deliberation among technical experts to provide a written synthesis; the videotaped testimony summarizes expert opinion about technical data in a way that allows the citizens' panel to deliberate
INTEGRATING ANALYSIS AND DELIBERATION 129 about what it means; and the panel's active efforts in interviewing experts and soliciting more analysis also uses analysis to inform deliberation. Note that only the group Delphi produces a written report. For the most part, the synthesis of knowledge about risks and uncertainty is not achieved by a quantitative, analytical method but rather by a process that combines analysis and deliberation among experts (in the second step) with scientifically informed deliberation by nonexperts (in the third step). In essence, the citizens' panels are empowered to keep asking the experts to characterize the risks until they are satisfied. Note also that there is no effort to get the panel to agree on the state of knowledge there is no attempt to present a single authoritative summary and, apparently, no need for one. The panel sees expert opinion, complete with its uncer- tainty and disagreements, and appears to be able to use this view of the state of knowledge to generate an implicit synthesis that informs its rec- ommendations for action. ACHIEVING CLOSURE Since the analytic-deliberative process leading to risk characteriza- tion is iterative, no step of it is closed in a permanent sense. By closure, we refer to a decision to end, wrap up, or call off an ongoing activity and move on to the next, even if revisiting the present one remains a possibil- ity. Because of real-world deadlines for decisions, whether set by law, budgets, or competing work, it is the responsibility of the organization charged with preparing a risk characterization to determine the point of closure for each step of the analytic-deliberative process. The organiza- tion is also in the best position to create mechanisms to promote closure and to set and enforce criteria for closure. Reaching closure is not a serious problem in many analytic-delibera- tive processes. It is likely to be most difficult when interests are in strong opposition; when the number of participants is large; and when differ- ences are based on fundamental values, as opposed to interpretations of evidence or motivation. Organizations should anticipate the possibility that the need for closure will come when the participants in a deliberation have not reached consensus. Under these conditions, an organization should consider two reasons to delay closure: to allow all parties a fair chance to hear others and be heard, and to bring to the surface additional information, concerns, and perspectives that will need to be considered if a risk characterization is to address the needs of the decision makers, public officials, and the interested and affected parties. Organization officials need to take care not to be or appear arbitrary in closing a part of the process. Inappropriately early closure decisions, even if they are legal, may destroy the rapport that the organization has
130 UNDERSTANDING RISK: INFORMING DECISIONS IN A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY built with interested and affected parties and may result in lost credibility and opposition to the ultimate decision, either in the form of legal chal- lenges or in political arenas. Agencies cannot and should not expect to satisfy all the interested and affected parties, but they, and their missions, can frequently benefit if they are more responsive to the parties' proce- dural demands than the law requires them to be. Those who manage an analytic-deliberative process should consider the intent of the participants when making decisions about closure. If the participants appear to be struggling to find a solution that is in the com- mon good, it may be prudent to invest more time or resources in continu- ing the process. However, as noted in Chapter 3, some parties may some- times be motivated by hidden agendas. For example, parties on all sides of risk debates have used demands for more analysis or more deliberation in order to delay decisions (Ozawa, 1991; gingham, 1986~. This strategy may advance the agenda of a participant, but at the expense of the broader purposes of the analytic-deliberative process. Strategic delay may also discourage other parties from participating or push organizations to close avenues for meaningful participation. If the organization anticipates that the process may be prolonged by one or more participants to pursue their own interests, it may be prudent to encourage the participants to adopt constraints, or even to impose constraints or close the deliberation by the authority of the convening organization, once all the information has been elicited and the view- points and perspectives aired and adequately discussed. A government agency or other organization may press for closure by restricting the budget or setting a deadline. This is a common technique used in mediation and regulatory negotiation. It may be attractive to agencies because it attaches a precise dollar figure or timetable to the task, but it can leave the agency vulnerable to charges that the constraints were inappropriate or insincere. Constraints imposed from outside an agency may also help in reaching closure, but some participants may consider them illegitimate. When participants consent to the constraints ahead of time, claims of illegitimacy are more difficult to sustain. Another way to promote closure is to have the participants in a delib- eration adopt a set of procedural rules that can be used in their discus- sions to reach closure even when substantial disagreements persist. For example, they may decide to follow parliamentary rules and resolve is- sues by majority vote after a discussion period. Consensus, in which each participant is given a veto, is another possibility that is used in regulatory negotiation. Another is the half veto when any two participants can veto a decision. Organizations may also impose constraints on the process and seek informed consent to those constraints (see Shrader-Frechette, 1993b:3671.
INTEGRATING ANALYSIS AND DELIBERATION 131 When the participants agree to constraints that will enable the process to be closed, they essentially commit themselves to accepting the closure when it occurs. Organizations should look first for ways to obtain agree- ment from the participating parties in advance to constraints that can force an analytic-deliberative task to closure. Regardless of their content, procedural rules for ending deliberation should be tailored to the needs of the situation and the deliberative body. Different rules can be assigned to different kinds of closure decisions, in the same risk decision process. Such an approach has worked well with citizen advisory committees and other forms of citizen panels (Lynn, 1987a; Renn et al. 1993~. It has the advantage that it can generate rules that protect groups from being forced into compromises on issues of fun- damental importance to them. A significant problem with closure can arise when a government agency responsible for characterizing a risk is motivated to postpone the decision (see Graham, 1985; Dwyer, 1990~. Officials may then claim, with- out what others consider adequate reason, that more detailed analysis or deliberation is necessary before taking action. Such a motive may conflict with the needs of the larger society and may be difficult to counteract within the agency itself. This possibility requires alertness on the part of the interested and affected parties and appropriate authorities in the ex- ecutive, legislative, or judicial branches of government. CONCLUSION This chapter and the two preceding ones have detailed an expanded view of the risk decision process that can be the basis for successful risk characterizations. Structuring an analytic-deliberative process for inform- ing a risk decision is not a matter of formal blueprints or step-by-step directions: every step of the process, from identifying possible harm to deciding when to close the last part of an analysis or the last part of a deliberation, involves judgment. The right choices are situation depen- dent. To guide their judgments, those who manage risk decisions can rely on a few principles, which we present in Chapter 7. By following these principles, organizations can expect, over time, to improve their ability to design processes that lead to successful risk characterizations. Success in risk characterization, like the rest of the risk decision process, cannot be measured by a checklist or a formula. But we believe success can be measured against several criteria that grow out of our overall framework. We see each of these criteria as a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for satisfactory risk characterization.
132 UNDERSTANDING RISK: INFORMING DECISIONS INA DEMOCRATIC SOCKET · Getting the science right: The underlying analysis meets high scien- tific standards in terms of measurement, analytic methods, data bases used, plausibility of assumptions, and respectfulness of both the magni- tude and the character of uncertainty, taking into consideration limita- tions that may have been placed on the analysis because of the level of effort judged appropriate for informing the decision. · Getting the right science: The analysis has addressed the significant risk-related concerns of public officials and the spectrum of interested and affected parties, such as risks to health, economic well-being, and ecological and social values, with analytic priorities having been set so as to emphasize the issues most relevant to the decision. · Getting the right participation: The analytic-deliberative process has had sufficiently broad participation to ensure that the important, deci- sion-relevant information enters the process, that the important perspec- tives are considered, and that the parties' legitimate concerns about inclu- siveness and openness are met. · Getting the participation right: The analytic-deliberative process sat- isfies the decision makers and interested and affected parties that it is responsive to their needs that their information, viewpoints, and con- cerns have been adequately represented and taken into account; that they have been adequately consulted; and that their participation has been able to affect the way risk problems are defined and understood; · Developing an accurate, balanced, and informative synthesis: The risk characterization presents the state of knowledge, uncertainty, and dis- agreement about the risk situation to reflect the range of relevant knowl- edge and perspectives and satisfies the parties to a decision that they have been adequately informed within the limits of available knowledge. An accurate and balanced synthesis treats the limits of scientific knowledge (i.e., the various kinds of uncertainty, indeterminacy, and ignorance) with an appropriate mixture of analytic and deliberative techniques. These criteria are related and mutually complementary. The defining feature of good risk characterization is that it meets the needs of decision participants. It must therefore be accurate, balanced, and informative. This requires getting the science right and getting the right science. Par- ticipation is important to help ask the right questions of the science, check the plausibility of assumptions, and ensure that any synthesis is both balanced and informative. The more likely it is that the science will be criticized on the basis of its underlying assumptions or alleged omissions, the more important participation is likely to be in a risk decision process.