Community And Stakeholder Involvement Process

Henry S. Cole & Associates has played an instrumental role in a number of stakeholder and community involvement processes on environmental issues.

  • Cole's ability to work effectively in such processes is enhanced by his expertise in the environmental sciences and his extensive experience with the diverse parties (community, corporate and government). As the case studies demonstrate, Cole has helped stakeholders find consensus, compromises and win-win solutions.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
ATSDR is a federal agency (Department of Health and Human Services) that conducts health assessments, health studies and advisories in communities affected by hazardous waste sites and environmental releases. ATSDR retained Cole & Associates beginning in 1995 to help the Agency improve its public involvement program and relations with affected communities.

  • Dr. Cole was principal investigator and author of a 1996 report evaluating ATSDR's community involvement practices. The report contains case studies and recommendations. (Report provided on request).
  • Dr. Cole helped to develop and implement an advisory process in which community and tribal activists from around the country meet four times annually to provide recommendations to ATSDR. The group is known as the Community/Tribal Subcommittee. Dr. Cole has served as a facilitator and information source since the group's inception in 1997.
  • Initially the interactions involved considerable anger on the part of community leaders and skepticism on the part of many agency officials. However, the process has evolved and has resulted in a number of significant achievements. For example, Community and tribal advisors in cooperation with the Agency and Tulane University developed a video used to help ATSDR staff become more sensitive to community concerns and work effectively with diverse peoples.

Winthrop, ME

Dr. Cole served as technical advisor to the Winthrop Landfill Citizen Action Group. He helped the group to win its primary objective - pro-active measures to capture the leachate from a chemical dump. The leachate was flowing unimpeded into a lake that is used extensively for recreation, fishing and as a backup water source.

The community's sound technical position and effective campaign led United Technologies to join a multi-party stakeholder process that included the EPA, the community and state agency. Subsequently the company installed a leachate collection system and a soil vapor extraction system to reduce VOC source contamination in the landfill. By taking these steps United Technologies satisfied the community and turned a looming public relations disaster into a much celebrated "win-win."

  • Cole & Associates circular, "Negotiating Environmental Cleanup: Creating Win-Win Frameworks" provides further detail on this and additional case studies. To request a copy, email us at
  • Dr. Cole's editorial on the need to incorporate community involvement into "Smart Growth" was published in The Washington Post.