1980 Societal Assessment of SPS

further expanding the participatory process. Study results were reported at open review meetings with time and encouragement given for interaction between presenters and participants. The reports were printed by the Department of Energy and distributed to several thousand recipients, including all major research libraries in the United States. Although the workshops, peer reviews and wide distribution of research findings succeeded in involving the public with direct interest in SPS development (e.g., government, aerospace contractors, academia, and selected scientific and engineering associations), the Active Feedback Outreach element was designed to involve the general public. This wider public involvement was achieved through a survey of other government public involvement programs and through the preparation and implementation of the Public Outreach Experiment. a. Review of Other Government Programs for Public Involvement The frequent use of organized protest and litigation to effect change or challenge policy decisions has encouraged the development and institution of programs for public involvement. Particularly visible with respect to environmental issues, citizens have also confronted the government on the issues of land use, wildlife preservation, energy, economy and growth, health, and the quality of urban life. Where programs to provide the public with opportunities to express their views and preferences have not been available, litigation has been used effectively to contest policy decisions. Different types of public involvement programs have emerged, in terms of their functions, objectives, and utility. They are visible on local, state, national and international levels and cover a broad scope of content areas, with particular emphasis on environmental issues, controversial technologies, and public safety. There are five general program types: advisory, consultation, education, participation and outreach. The objectives of advisory programs are to resolve controversies, achieve consensus or ascertain the facts with respect to scientific and technological issues. Attempting to counter the lack of public confidence in technology, a frequent intention is to bring the general public and technical experts together and establish a consensus on scientific and technological controversies.