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Citizen Advisory Committees and Environmental Policy: What We Know, What's Left to Discover

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Citizen Advisory Committees (CACs) are being used in increasing numbers to provide public input into environmental policy and management decisions. While there is a large body of literature consisting of guidelines for establishing and running CACs, the body of literature of empirical evaluations of CACs is markedly smaller. Fourteen empirical studies of CACs involved in environmental policy decisions (spanning the period from 1976 to 1994) are reviewed here, including case studies, large‐scale surveys, and consultant reports. For each study consideration is given to the methods of study, the issues considered by the CACs, the organizations advised, the definitions of success used in the study, and the suggested factors contributing to the success, or lack of success, experienced by the CACs. The review shows that the influence of CACs on policy outcomes have varied from case to case, with some accomplishing little and others having significant policy impacts. The increased use of CACs by government and industry presents an excellent opportunity for academics and practitioners to strengthen their understanding of the internal processes and capabilities of CACs through comparative evaluation research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Publication date: 1995-04-01

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