AMS Forum: Environmental Risk and Impacts on Society: Successes and Challenges


Local implementation and the decision process - a challenge

James Giraytys, SHENAIR Institute, James Madison Univ., Winchester, VA; and C. J. Brodrick

Every federal and state environmental program is implemented at the local level. Success or failure is measured by combining the decisions made by thousands of local governments, businesses, and citizen's groups acting in concert. Federal and state managers, as well as national scientific societies have to grapple with an almost insurmountable tangle of rules, regulations, commissions, and cultures to achieve results. One motto is; “think globally, and implement locally.” Local implementation, however, is truly a “mission impossible” unless a local surrogate can be enlisted.

The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia is one example. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the standards for air quality, the Departments of environmental Quality in both states oversee the implementation, and local jurisdictions are responsible for developing implementation programs when the standards are not met. For air quality, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission (NSVRC) is a surrogate assisting with implementation at the local level.

In this paper we describe the Shenandoah Valley Air Quality (SHENAIR) Initiative and its links to local decision makers. SHENAIR is a grass roots program designed to understand the sources of and processes contributing to the increasingly poor air quality in the Valley. It is an action-oriented initiative with a goal of improving air quality as an essential component to the continued economic development of the region.

Understanding the roots of the deteriorating air quality and then making sound decisions requires the concerted action of local governments, businesses and citizen's groups: those essential to the success of any environmental program. The roles of the various groups are discussed, as is the role of the NSVRC as a surrogate. A SHENAIR Institute has been established at James Madison University (JMU). Other colleges and universities in the Valley are being linked with JMU in a “virtual” institute. This network of local stakeholders working in concert with local universities to achieve a science-based result that local decision makers can implement is a model that could be replicated in other parts of the country.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (116K)

Session 2, Hazards and disasters: Socioeconomic Impacts & the Decision making process: Part 2
Thursday, 2 February 2006, 1:30 PM-2:45 PM, A311

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