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RCRA Public Participation Manual

Background | Anticipated Utility | Documents

The RCRA Public Participation Manual is intended as a "user's manual." It explains how public participation works in the RCRA permitting process (including corrective action), and how citizens, regulators, and industry can cooperate to make it work better. It also describes a wide assortment of activities to enhance public participation, and includes several appendices that provide lists of contacts, sources of information, and examples of public participation tools and activities.


The 1996 RCRA Public Participation Manual supersedes the 1993 RCRA Public Involvement Manual. It was revised, among other reasons, (1) to provide additional guidance on the new RCRA public participation requirements, as promised in the final RCRA Expanded Public Participation rule (60 FR 63417, December 11, 1995), and (2) to broaden its scope so that it will be useful to members of the public and regulated industry, as well as to permit writers.

The broader scope reflects EPA's belief that all stakeholders in RCRA permitting actions have a role in providing for meaningful public participation. Each stakeholder group -- regulators, public interest organizations, community members, and regulated facilities -- can take steps to increase participation and improve communication. Of course, the Federal and State agencies still administer RCRA and its public participation activities, but EPA acknowledges that members of communities and owners/operators of hazardous waste management facilities also play an integral role in the permitting process. The manual describes activities that EPA hopes empower all groups to maximize their role.

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Anticipated Utility

In general -- The manual provides detailed descriptions for dozens of public participation techniques -- required and optional, formal and informal. It also contains a wide variety of resources such as EPA policy memoranda, lists of contacts, fact sheets, and examples of public notices and press releases.

To regulators - The manual provides specific details about public participation requirements and outlines EPA's current policies. The manual also explains activities to help you provide better information to the public and to invite more public input into your RCRA permitting work. The manual provides tips for opening up dialogue with other stakeholders, for assessing communities and being sensitive to their concerns, and for planning public participation strategies.

To the public - The manual clearly describes the many public participation activities required by federal RCRA permitting regulations. It also points out steps that agencies, company owners and public interest groups may take to provide more public input into the permitting process. It includes useful tips on interacting with other stakeholders and conducting community involvement activities. It also includes several lists of people and organizations that you can tap into to learn more about the permitting process and community organizing.

To the regulated community - The manual describes when and how to conduct public participation events required by RCRA. It describes opportunities companies can provide that go beyond the requirements, and provides insights into how to cooperate and communicate with other stakeholders. The manual will be helpful to many companies that have or are setting up public participation programs.

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You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

The hardcopy version of the 1996 RCRA Public Involvement Manual also includes the following appendices: RCRA Public Participation Manual - En Español (PDF) (256 pp, 589K)

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