M. Greenberg, M. Weiner, H. Mayer, D. Kosson, C. Powers. Sustainability as a Priority at Major U.S. Department of Energy’s Defense Sites: Surrounding Population Views, Sustainability, 2014, 6, 2013-2030; doi:10.3390/su6042013
Abstract: Sustainability is rapidly becoming a widely accepted and desired attitude, as well as a stimulus for both environmentally-conscious individuals and firm behavior. However, does the public interest in sustainability also extend to large U.S. federal agencies? Does the public care about on-site sustainability programs? To answer this question, we surveyed 922 people who live within 50 miles of one of four U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) major facilities: Hanford, Idaho National Laboratory, Savannah River and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Only 14% expressed no interest in DOE’s on-site sustainability efforts. Five percent said that they were interested enough to join a local community group to provide feedback to the DOE; 49% were interested and wanted more information, as well as interaction with the DOE’s site-specific advisory boards or local elected officials. Compared to other DOE on-site activities, respondents rated sustainability as “somewhat important”. Native Americans who live near a site, are familiar with it and self-identify as interested in environmental protection disproportionately belong to the “most interested” category. We conclude that public interest is sufficient to merit outreach by DOE to involve interested and knowledgeable local residents in on-site sustainability plans.