The Impact of Public Meetings on Community Reactions to Environmental RiskEPA 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: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: August 1, 1997 through August 1, 2000
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1997) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
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.