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Public Comments -- John J. Wislocki

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

stakeholder contact points Subject: Comments regarding EPA Public Participation Policy of 1981

Dec. 16, 1999

Deborah Dalton:

I am submitting my recommendations to improve U.S. EPA's public participation and offering an opinion of how well these regulations and policies ensure public participation in decision making.

A great deal has happened since the 1981 Policy -- the Internet, the emergence of diverse cultures, the increasing number of U.S. citizens who speak Spanish, and advances in engineering and technical approaches, to name a few. These events, milestones in culture, and trends need to be considered as part of the new policy, not so much so that each has a role, but each should be woven into the total policy fabric.

I would recommend, based on the 1981 Policy, that EPA identify how the public can be involved in activities and not attempt to address such involvement in the present section entitled Objectives.

Secondly, under the Outreach category, 3. Dialogue section, 2nd paragraph, distribution of information. Dissemination of material is no longer putting EIS notices in national newspapers and display advertising in small town papers; dissemination involves community radio stations in rural areas: internet, cable, and others means that effectively demonstrate you reach your audience has to be weighed.

Also, (same section) you emphasize that toll-free lines can aid dialogue, especially when many questions can be anticipated or time is short. This presumes your affected public understands the issues and knows their roles, rights, and responsibilities. The 1981 Policy has to be updated to encourage decision making that is full and knowledgeable on the part of those you seek to respond.

Third, has every public participation plan that was developed in the past 19 years addressed adequately public participation measures?

And lastly, knowing your affected audience contributes greatly to encouraging their support and earning their trust. There is no one audience as there might have been two decades ago. I suggest you consider this as an important part of your revamped policy...just who you want to involve.

I would be glad to talk with you and develop these issues as part of the task force recommendations.

John J. Wislocki
9110 Bramble Place
Annandale, VA 22003

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