Risk perception, future land use and stewardship: Comparison of attitudes about Hanford Site and Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory

J. Burger, J. Sanchez, D. Roush, M. Gochfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

With the ending of the Cold War, the Department of Energy (DOE) is evaluating mission, future land use and stewardship of departmental facilities. This paper compares the environmental concerns and future use preferences of 351 people interviewed at Lewiston, Idaho, about the Hanford Site and Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), two of DOE's largest sites. Although most subjects lived closer to Hanford than INEEL, most resided in the same state as INEEL. Therefore their economic interests might be more closely allied with INEEL, while their health concerns might be more related to Hanford. Few lived close enough to either site to be directly affected economically. We test the null hypotheses that there are no differences in environmental concerns and future land-use preferences as a function of DOE site, sex, age and education. When asked to list their major concerns about the sites, more people listed human health and safety, and environmental concerns about Hanford compared to INEEL. When asked to list their preferred future land uses, 49% of subjects did not have any for INEEL, whereas only 35% did not know for Hanford. The highest preferred land uses for both sites were as a National Environmental Research Park (NERP), and for camping, hunting, hiking, and fishing. Except for returning the land to the tribes and increased nuclear storage, subjects rated all future uses as more preferred at INEEL than Hanford. Taken together, these data suggest that the people interviewed know more about Hanford, are more concerned about Hanford, rate recreational uses and NERP as their highest preferred land use, and feel that INEEL is more suited for most land uses than Hanford. Overall rankings for future land uses were remarkably similar between the sites, indicating that for these stakeholders, DOE lands should be preserved for research and recreation. These preferences should be taken into account when planning for long-term stewardship at these two DOE sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-280
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume61
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Keywords

  • Department of Energy
  • Environmental concerns
  • Hanford Site
  • Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory
  • Land use
  • Recreation
  • Risk perception
  • Stewardship

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