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Whither Public Participation in Federal Land Management? Replicating Homegrown Innovations in Shared Problem Solving

January 2018

Citation: ELR 10015

Author: Matthew McKinney

The Trump Administration’s initial approach to federal land policy raises some long-standing, fundamental questions about the role of public participation and intergovernmental coordination in federal land management. Whether intentional or not, key administrative moves give the impression that it is trying to limit public participation as the Administration's priority is energy and natural resource development over conservation. The core argument of this Comment is that, despite the current political climate and its impact on public participation and intergovernmental coordination, there are a number of innovative and effective efforts in shared problem solving emerging organically across the landscape. In sum, how can we move from the conventional approaches to public participation that revolve around citizens and stakeholders providing “input and advice” to a system that puts a premium on “shared problem solving”?

Matthew McKinney is Director of the Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy at the University of Montana.

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