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Public Participation and Environmental Policy Outcomes


  • Andrew J. Green


In a laudable attempt to increase public participation in environmental policymaking, Canadian governments have grafted US-style participation rights onto the Canadian structure of policymaking. Using the examples of regulation of sulphur dioxide emissions, automobiles, and pulp and paper effluent in Canada and the US, this paper argues that, while this increase in public participation helps off-set the power of industry and provides greater information to regulators on the benefits of regulation, it can lead to less than optimal results. Because no changes have been made to the underlying structure of policymaking, the addition of these public participation rights risks overregulation when public demand for control is high without reducing the possibility of underregulation when public interest is low. A new structure of environmental policymaking is needed to permit participation by all parties affected by regulation (including both the public and regulated parties) in a manner which permits effective and rational environmental policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew J. Green, 1997. "Public Participation and Environmental Policy Outcomes," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 23(4), pages 435-458, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:23:y:1997:i:4:p:435-458

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