Some approaches to assessing environmental risk in siting hazardous waste facilities

Clapham, W.B.Jr

Environmental Professional 12(1): 32-39


Accession: 007804171

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This paper compares how potential impacts and risks posed by proposed hazardous waste facilities are assessed by several states with mechanisms they regard as "successful." Hazardous waste facilities are controversial, and the permit process invariably occupies a prominent place in the public spotlight. State and federal governments recognize that adequate capacity to handle hazardous wastes is essential for a modern industry society, but local government and grassroots organizations frequently oppose the siting of facilities "in their back yard." The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 provided an incentive for most states to demonstrate that they are capable of siting new facilities sufficient to meet their industrial needs for the next 20 years. Despite the fact that all industrial states have active facility siting programs, it is difficult to compare those of different states. They utilize different norm's and goals for impact assessment, which require different strategies in the permit process. Comparing some of these approaches may provide some insight into how best to evaluate the environmental impact process.