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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

The Impact of Public Meetings on Community Reactions to Environmental Risk

EPA Grant Number: U915195
Title: The Impact of Public Meetings on Community Reactions to Environmental Risk
Investigators: McComas, Katherine A.
Institution: Cornell University
EPA Project Officer: Jones, Brandon
Project Period: August 1, 1997 through August 1, 2000
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1997)
Research Category: Fellowship - Risk Communication , Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration



This project seeks to investigate how public meetings influence citizen understanding and perception of risk during environmental controversies. This research also examines how representatives of regulatory agencies view the effectiveness of public meetings as methods for communicating risk and understanding citizens' concerns. The guiding research question asks: To what extent are citizens, who attend public meetings, and representatives of regulatory agencies, whichwho conduct and provide risk information at public meetings, satisfied with public meetings as methods for communicating risk to lay audiences, obtaining citizen input into environmental policies, and building trust among citizens and environmental managers?


Three communities facing environmental management issues and using public meetings as one form of risk communication and citizen participation were chosen for comparison. Data collected in each community includes: (1) a brief historical analysis of the community; (2) participant- observations of public meetings; (3) pre- and post-meeting surveys mailed to citizens who attend public meetings; (4) pre- and post-meeting surveys mailed to community residents living within a 1one-mile radius of the site in question; (5) pre- and post-meeting interviews with representatives of regulatory agencies conducting the public meetings; and (6) a content analysis of local or regional newspaper coverage of the public meetings.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, risk communication, public meetings, public participation, credibility, risk perception, community reactions., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Economics, decision-making, Ecology and Ecosystems, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, stakeholder involvement, coalition formation, community involvement, collaborative resolution, collective choice process, environmental decision making, decision making, community based environmental planning, public meetings, environmental policy, risk communication, environmental protection

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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