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EPA Wants to Use Social Media to Encourage Public Participation in RCRA Permitting

Date: August 15, 2016

Source: US EPA

The EPA is seeking public comment to increase public participation in Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) permitting decisions, including how to use social media. The draft 2016 RCRA Public Participation Manual includes current regulations, policies and practices, as well as presenting "new information about technical assistance, environmental justice, social media, and other topics that have come to the forefront since the 1996 edition." When the 1996 edition was published, the focus was on issuing RCRA permits, but today, the majority of hazardous waste management facilities are already permitted, and permit maintenance and modifications now account for most of the permitting activity today, EPA says.

The "updated manual describes a wide assortment of activities to enhance public participation, highlights the use of digital and social media, provides a guide to integrate public participation into the permit modification process, and incorporates lessons learned and best practices," EPA says in a document highlighting the advantages of public involvement.

EPA is accepting public comments until Sept. 9 and is specifically asking for feedback on how to plan for public participation when there is little or no interest, and how social media has influenced the environmental decision-making process in communities. Furthermore, the agency is asking commenters to "identify innovative and inspiring public participation projects that have resulted in a positive outcome for all stakeholders."

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