Framing Contests in Environmental Decision-Making: A Case Study of the Tar Creek (Oklahoma) Superfund Site (Case Study)

INTRODUCTION Sustainability requires that the recursive relationship between the natural environment and human enterprises be brought into an enduring and adaptive balance. The involvement of public stakeholders in environmental decision-making processes is widely recognized as an important component for achieving this balance. In 1996, the National Research Council advocated a new approach to evaluating environmental risks that includes the involvement of public stakeholders in an iterative analytic-deliberative process to frame analyses and deliberate appropriate courses of action (35). Stakeholder involvement has steadily increased at all levels of government and there is compelling evidence to suggest stakeholder processes that address the political dimensions of environmental issues result in improved decision outcomes (8). Public participation is also a requirement for governmental policies to be politically legitimate as well as effective (37).

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