The Role of Scientists in the Natural Resource and Environmental Policy Process: A Comparison of Canadian and American Publics

Brent Steel, Denise Lach, Peter List, and Bruce Shindler

DOI: 10.2190/83W0-0JJ6-NUEK-HMDB


Recent science wars challenging the primacy of scientific authority in technical decision making, increasingly complex policy problems, and expanding demands for public participation have created tension among both the producers and users of science, especially in the highly visible policy arenas of natural resource management. This article uses survey data collected in 1999 from Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia to investigate public perspectives on these conflicting roles for science and scientists in the natural resource and environmental policy making process in the Canadian and American contexts. Determinants of public support for involving scientists in the policy making process also are characterized and measured. The article concludes that publics in both areas of the Pacific West are likely to approve of Kai Lee s concept of civic science, in which research scientists are more actively integrated into natural resource management processes.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.