PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITTING PROCESS: DEVELOPMENT OF A PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT PLAN (PIP) FOR STAKEHOLDERS IN NORTHERN NEW MEXICO
Repository Usage Stats
In recent years the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has tried to provide more opportunities for public participation related to permitting activities beyond what the regulations currently require. Those efforts were mostly unsuccessful and created more animosity between stakeholders and the NMED. In an effort to mitigate stakeholders’ dissatisfaction with regard to opportunities for public involvement under current Federal regulations, the purpose of this research is to develop a Public Involvement Plan (PIP) that details the steps the NMED should take to involve and educate the public in the permitting process. Using Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL) Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Permit as a test case, this research assessed the attitudes of local communities affected by activities at RCRA-permitted facilities. An online survey was distributed to a target group of NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) known to be actively involved in RCRA-permitting issues at LANL. The survey requested information about current opportunities for public participation, satisfaction or dissatisfaction with those opportunities, and potential methods for improving communication. Individual interviews were conducted with leaders of targeted NGOs to help identify how stakeholders prefer to be informed and when they should be afforded opportunities to participate in the permitting process. These NGOs were also asked to make recommendations for the PIP and identify methods and opportunities to educate the public on the permitting processes under RCRA. The two significant conclusions of this research are: 1) there is a severe lack of communication between NMED and local communities affected by LANL and 2) many local stakeholders need a better understanding of how the permitting process functions so they can be more efficient and successful participants in permitting activities at LANL. A PIP is a vehicle for addressing both of these issues. Although stakeholders agreed that a PIP was critical for improving public participation, public recommendations about how to inform and involve the public through the PIP varied considerably. Development of a final PIP will require cooperation, participation, and input from both the NMED and the public.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
More InfoShow full item record
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: Nicholas School of the Environment