Summary of "Siting Hazardous Waste Treatment Facilities: The NIMBY Syndrome"

Summary of

Siting Hazardous Waste Treatment Facilities: The NIMBY Syndrome

By K. E. Portney

Summary written by T.A. O'Lonergan, Conflict Research Consortium

Citation: Portney, K. E. Siting Hazardous Waste Treatment Facilities: The NIMBY Syndrome, (New York: Auburn House, 1991), 172 pp.

Siting Hazardous Waste Treatment Facilities: The NIMBY Syndrome is a careful examination of the multiple difficulties in siting a facility for the treatment of hazardous wastes. It will be of interest to those who seek an understanding of the social, cultural and psychological components of public opposition to locating such a facility in one's community. The first chapter attempts to list some of the pieces which contribute to siting facilities of this type and some possible approaches: such as siting as a State policy problem calling for administration by the State with local input, and the local involvement and influence approach.

Chapter two examines what works and what doesn't work in facility siting. The author considers economic compensation and financial incentives, public education and risk communication, and environmental negotiation and mediation. Chapter three considers the politics of siting. The author considers State siting legislation to be flawed political prescriptions, and the State policy problem to be a dilemma of democracy. The author considers public participation to be the solution to these difficulties and offers advice for achieving this participation within a democratic context.

Chapter four considers correlates of public opposition; specifically, what is known, and not known about influences on people's attitudes toward siting. Considered are the relationship between opposition to siting and: socio-economic status, gender, community rootedness, and, political activity. The role of the media in opposition is briefly discussed. Chapter five offers correlates of changes in public opposition. Chapter six examines the normative bases of conflict. The author considers the social, cultural and psychological construction of opposition to facility siting. The final chapter offers solutions to the difficulties of treatment facility siting and NIMBY. Risk substitution is offered as a viable alternative.

Siting Hazardous Waste Treatment Facilities: The NIMBY Syndrome is a tightly focused work which is very nicely supported by numerous graphical analyses of data, and multiple tables and figures. This text will be very useful to the reader who needs a broad understanding of the complexities of hazardous waste facility siting.