Inderscience Publishers

Citizens, engineers and air toxics: citizen participation in technology based standard setting

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Courtesy of Inderscience Publishers

This article analyses the potential for involving state and local citizen groups in technology-based standard setting for air toxics under the l990 US Clean Air Act. Congress hoped that by focusing on technology rather than risk that the standard setting process would be less contentious. This has not turned out to be the case. There are a number of points where scientists and engineers make choices between several technologically defensible options. Their judgments have implications for the stringency and the costs of implementing a standard. It is at these points of judgment that all parties - citizen groups and industry - want to have a say. The article identifies places where citizens could be included in standard setting. The article highlights underlying strategies to consider when involving citizens, and suggests specific participatory techniques for including citizens in air toxics standard setting. While the article focuses on air toxics, the issues it raises about citizen participation are applicable to other federal standard setting activities.

Keywords: citizen participation, technology-based standard setting, policy and value choices

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