If the governmental activity towards protecting the environment is not helpful, the community has to demand better policies from their officials. Besides, there can be measures people can perform without the assistance of the government. In the US, community participation in environmental programs began in 1980 when Congress created Superfund that aimed at cleaning areas contaminated by hazardous wastes. The US Environmental Protection Agency was responsible for taking actions prescribed in this program. During this program, local communities actively participated in events scheduled by EPA. However, in most cases, the activity of the agency was limited to providing explanations to the local community on the importance of their actions.
Later, Department of Defense and Department of Navy decided to establish Restoration Advisory Board that would stimulate the public input and act as an intermediary between people and officials. It consists of local community members and officials from various departments. RAB members enhanced community understanding of the cleaning program and recommended priorities for cleanup. As a result, the public opinion became closer to policy makers and together contributed to the common good.
The role of community participation in the environmental decision-making is crucial. Excluding public from decision-making, officials create hurdles to successful implementation of their policies. The US government officially confirmed that contribution of the community has positively influenced the performance of environmental programs. Restoration Advisory Board is a mandatory part of the Department of Defense. The board issued Community Involvement Plans that were mutually agreed with the government. Further cooperation between the community and officials ensures that policy makers are always informed about concerns in their society.