Impact Management Priorities at Waste Facilities: Differences Between Host Community Residents' and Technical Decision Makers' Values

Chris Zeiss

DOI: 10.2190/5R2C-8XDT-G5AM-V0C5


Host-community residents often oppose waste disposal facilities despite well intentioned efforts by technical decision-makers to address impacts. Conflicts over facility siting may stem from differences in impact management priorities between residents and technical decision-makers. Underlying these differences may be disparities in valuing facility impacts, as indicated by recent studies. This study tests for value differences by presenting three sets of impact management measures to host-community residents and technical decision-makers. Generally, residents more strongly than engineers favor a preventive approach despite higher costs. Preferences for specific measures are blurred, but residents follow a preventive rationale, while technical decision-makers consider cost effectiveness. As a result, engineers and planners must be aware of their own empirical tendency to undervalue impacts (losses) and overvalue benefits (gains) from waste facilities. Hence, technical decision-makers must take into account the higher sensitivity and resistence to changes among personally affected persons in selecting impact management measures for undesirable facilities.

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