Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Marion Hourdequin; Peter Landres; Mark J. Hanson; David R. Craig
    Date: 2012
    Source: Environmental Impact Assessment Review. 35: 37-44.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (255.49 KB)

    Description

    Traditional mechanisms for public participation in environmental impact assessment under U.S. federal law have been criticized as ineffective and unable to resolve conflict. As these mechanisms are modified and new approaches developed, we argue that participation should be designed and evaluated not only on practical grounds of cost-effectiveness and efficiency, but also on ethical grounds based on democratic ideals. In this paper, we review and synthesize modern democratic theory to develop and justify four ethical principles for public participation: equal opportunity to participate, equal access to information, genuine deliberation, and shared commitment. We then explore several tensions that are inherent in applying these ethical principles to public participation in EIA. We next examine traditional NEPA processes and newer collaborative approaches in light of these principles. Finally, we explore the circumstances that argue for more in-depth participatory processes. While improved EIA participatory processes do not guarantee improved outcomes in environmental management, processes informed by these four ethical principles derived from democratic theory may lead to increased public engagement and satisfaction with government agency decisions.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to rmrspubrequest@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Hourdequin, Marion; Landres, Peter; Hanson, Mark J.; Craig, David R. 2012. Ethical implications of democratic theory for U.S. public participation in environmental impact assessment. Environmental Impact Assessment Review. 35: 37-44.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    ethics, democratic theory, public participation, NEPA, collaboration

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/41126