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Title: Incorporating social concerns in environmental impact assessments

Abstract

Social impact assessments most often focus on the population-driven impacts of projects. Such impacts may be insignificant when compared with social structural impacts of complex, controversial projects. This set of impacts includes social disruption, social group formation, and stigma effects. The National Environmental Policy Act does not explicitly call for assessment of, and assessors often are reluctant to address, these complex issues. This paper discusses why such impacts are critical to assess and gives examples of how they have been incorporated into environmental assessment documents. 6 refs.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab., TN (USA)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE/ER
OSTI Identifier:
7160371
Report Number(s):
CONF-9003123-1
ON: DE90009231
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-84OR21400
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 1990 international meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, York (UK), 28 Mar - 1 Apr 1990
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS; NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT; IMPLEMENTATION; SOCIAL IMPACT; DECISION MAKING; GOVERNMENT POLICIES; PUBLIC OPINION; REGULATIONS; DOCUMENT TYPES; LAWS; 290200* - Energy Planning & Policy- Economics & Sociology; 290300 - Energy Planning & Policy- Environment, Health, & Safety

Citation Formats

Wolfe, A.K. Incorporating social concerns in environmental impact assessments. United States: N. p., 1990. Web.
Wolfe, A.K. Incorporating social concerns in environmental impact assessments. United States.
Wolfe, A.K. 1990. "Incorporating social concerns in environmental impact assessments". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_7160371,
title = {Incorporating social concerns in environmental impact assessments},
author = {Wolfe, A.K.},
abstractNote = {Social impact assessments most often focus on the population-driven impacts of projects. Such impacts may be insignificant when compared with social structural impacts of complex, controversial projects. This set of impacts includes social disruption, social group formation, and stigma effects. The National Environmental Policy Act does not explicitly call for assessment of, and assessors often are reluctant to address, these complex issues. This paper discusses why such impacts are critical to assess and gives examples of how they have been incorporated into environmental assessment documents. 6 refs.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 1990,
month = 3
}

Conference:
Other availability
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  • In the last twenty years, both the increase in academic production and the expansion of professional involvement in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) have evidenced growing scientific and business interest in risk and impact analysis. However, this growth has not brought with it parallel progress in addressing the main shortcomings of EIA/SIA, i.e. insufficient integration of environmental and social factors into development project analyses and, in cases where the social aspects are considered, technical-methodological failings in their analysis and assessment. It is clear that these weaknesses carry with them substantial threats to the sustainability (social, environmentalmore » and economic) of projects which impact on the environment, and consequently to the local contexts where they are carried out and to the delicate balance of the global ecosystem. This paper argues that, in a sociological context of complexity and dynamism, four conceptual elements should underpin approaches to socio-environmental risk and impact assessment in development projects: a theoretical base in actor–network theory; an ethical grounding in values which are internationally recognized (though not always fulfilled in practice); a (new) epistemological-scientific base; and a methodological foundation in social participation. - Highlights: • A theoretical foundation in actor–network theory • An ethical grounding in values which are internationally recognized, but rarely carried through into practice • A (new) epistemological-scientific base • A methodological foundation in social participation.« less
  • Arguments are presented in favor of emphasizing population-level assessments over community/ecosystem-level assessments. The two approaches are compared on each of four issues: (1) the nature of entrainment/impingement impacts; (2) the ability to forecast reliably for a single fish population as contrasted to the ability to forecast for an aquatic community or ecosystem; (3) practical considerations involving money, manpower, time, and the need to make decisions; and (4) the nature of societal and economic concerns. The conclusion on each of these four issues is that population-level assessments provide the optimal approach for evaluating the effects of entrainment and impingement mortality.
  • New and sometimes unexpected environmental concerns surface from time to time, and each has its special effect on the selection, pricing, and operation of cooling towers. This paper discusses the following concerns, which are either current or are becoming significant: water conservation, energy conservation, noise, drift, blowdown, visual impact, and construction materials that are environmentally sensitive. 3 refs.
  • Executive Order 12898, {open_quote}Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income populations,{close_quote} directs Federal agencies to make environmental justice part of their mission by involving minorities and low-income populations and by identifying and addressing as appropriate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority and low-income populations. In the Presidential Memorandum transmitting the Executive Order it was stated that environmental justice should be taken into consideration under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). NEPA, with its systematic approach and requirements for alternatives analysis and comprehensive publicmore » participation, has served as one of the main mechanisms for involving the public in environmental decision-making. This paper addresses challenges faced by the Department of Energy in involving minority and low-income populations in the public involvement activities associated with a national-level environmental impact statement (EIS) and suggests ways to improve agencies` incorporation of environmental justice considerations in NEPA scoping.« less