Welcome to our Publications page!
Visitors can download the full text of journal articles on Environmental Communication, Public Involvement, Community and Stakeholder Assessment, Crisis Communication, and other important topics.

Although some of these articles were written in the 1990s, all of the listed pieces are still relevant.  To download, click on the icon.

Some articles and documents also appear on other topic pages as well as on this page.
The TRI, P2 & Public Dialogue--This article discusses how the public availability of emissions data (the Toxics Release Inventory) has driven corporate pollution prevention (P2) efforts (P2 is reducing the production of emissions rather than treating them after they are created) and raised the bar on the need for generators of emissions to make additional information available to the public and engage stakeholders in dialogues.  Case studies included.
General Information on Environmental Communication

Communicating Amidst Diversity--This piece discusses the challenges of communicating with populations and communities that may define environmental issues differently from the "mainstream" definitions and/or require specific approaches tailored to their cultures.
Herding Cats: The Elusive Nature of Regulating Community Dialogue--This article discusses two regulatory schemes, one involving simply the release of information about environmental risk (the Risk Management Program under the Clean Air Act) and the other involving Expanded Public Participation (under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) that includes explicit requirements for informing the public of permitting activities related to certain hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.  The article discusses the strengths and weaknesses of simple public availability of information contrasted against prescribed public involvement activities.
Hidden Agendas: How Dubious Motives Can Lurk Behind Environmental Issues--and Complicate Public Dialogues

This provocative piece discusses the all-too-common situation in which persons who are seeking, for example, competitive or political example, use either bogus environmental issues or front groups to manipulate public opinion without either the public or the media understanding that other, high-dollar stakes are in play.  Use of these tactics is at an all-time high--and the payoffs to the deceivers and the adverse consequences to the public and the environment can be immense.
Community Relations/Public Involvement Program Design and Implementation
Designing Effective Community Relations Programs--This piece, which is adapted from The Practical Guide to Environmental Community Relations, published by John Wiley & Sons, 1997, co-authored by Carol J. Forrest and Renee Hix Mays, provides worksheets and guidance for designing comprehensive community relations/public involvement plans.
Illinois's Right-to-Know Law: Notifying Residents of Off-Site Contamination--This article includes an overview of the community relations actions required under Illinois law to inform neighbors of the actual or potential for the migration of groundwater and/or soil contamination away from a contaminated site and onto their properties.  This comprehensive law and the subsequent regulations provide a template for good public involvement/community relations.  The article also includes a substantial discussion of the two cases, in which contamination from industrial sites traveled off-site and into residential drinking water wells, that sparked the legislation.
Community and Stakeholder Assessment Process and Tools
Community Assessments: Roadmaps to Successful Public Involvement--This nuts-and-bolts paper was presented in Washington, D.C. at the National Association of Environmental Professionals Conference, 1995, in the Identifying Stakeholders session.  Although we have since improved upon our community and stakeholder assessment model (see additional publications on this topic following), this paper retains its usefulness to persons who are charged with trying to get a handle on their communities.
Demystifying Public Environmental Concerns: Implementing Community Assessments--This article enlarges upon the concepts included in the Roadmaps to Community Public Involvement paper.  It includes a table (updated version inserted) that shows how stakeholder attitudes can vary on certain issues (such as whether they are likely to welcome outside environmental advocacy organizations and which organizations--U.S. EPA, state public health agencies, etc.--they view as credible).  Readers who wish to go beyond the Roadmaps will want to read this article.
Environmental Community Relations: What Can You Learn About a Community From Reviewing Publicly Available Documents?--This article lays out a process for conducting community or stakeholder assessments without performing interviews.  The article explains how publicly available documents, including resources available on-line or in "hard copy" form in public libraries, can be used to identify many of the community characteristics that community relations/public involvement practitioners must understand in order to predict likely community behaviors and prepare community relations/public involvement plans.
Crisis Communication How-To Guides and Case Studies
A Tale of Two Crises--This article discusses the crisis communication responses to two incidents involving possible exposure to hazardous substances.  One of the incidents involves the accidental release of a chemical (sulfur trioxide) that traveled into a residential neighborhood, and the other involves concerns regarding the incidence of cancer in a suburban public school that left staff and parents wondering if carcinogenic substances could be present in the school building.
Miscellaneous Publications
Risk Management Planning: Will It Lead to Inherently Safe Operations?--While this article addresses the use of inherently safer technology in response to the public availability of information on the potential effects of accidental chemical releases under the Clean Air Act's Risk Management Program, the issue of inherent safety re-emerged in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks and concerns about terrorism.
The Environmental Manager's Guide to Environmental Liability Insurance--This article has nothing to do with environmental communication, but we thought it was an interesting topic.  For those who still believe that Superfund made it impossible to buy environmental liability insurance, this article is a must-read.
Table on the Variability of Community Attitudes and Behaviors--This table shows the types of common variations in attitudes and behaviors that persons working in public involvement/ community relations can find in individual communities.  Although this table is not all-inclusive, it does provide readers with an idea of why it may be necessary to vary their approaches to public outreach, depending on the types of variables shown.
Copyright 2010: Rose Hill Communications, Inc. | Stakeholder Assessment. All Rights Reserved.

Publication Catagories (click to navigate to desired category) (Links not yet active -- sorry!)

  • Community and Stakeholder Assessment Process and Tools

  • Community Relations/Public Involvement Program Design, Implementation

  • Crisis Communication Case Studies and How-To Guides

  • Environmental Justice

  • General Information on Environmental Communication

  • Miscellaneous Topics
Featured Article

Environmental Public Involvement and Outreach: Tools and Commentary

Do you ever wonder how best to engage the public to discuss environmental issues?  This article, which appeared in the Fall 2012 Issue of Environmental Quality Management, describes how best to design and implement various standard community and stakeholder outreach tools, such as small-group meetings, availability sessions, open houses, and the like.  The article discusses factors that professionals should consider when choosing outreach tools to ensure the best "fit" with the community, particularly in regard to environmental justice issues.
Attorneys and Public Involvement: A Powerful Combination for Resolving Environmental Conflicts and Concerns

This piece discusses the experiences and views of several environmental attorneys who have employed community relations/public involvement techniques to assist their clients in resolving community-based conflicts and concerns.  Also included--practical advice for selecting and working with community relations/public involvement specialists in cases requiring outside assistance.  Published in the Winter 2010 Issue of Environmental Quality Management. 
Environmental Justice Documents
Why You Need Good Environmental Community Relations: Tales from Beyond the Fence Line

This article includes a number of cases involving community concerns -- and how community relations/public involvement professionals addressed them.  Published in the Summer 2011 Issue of Environmental Quality Management.
Practical Environmental Crisis Communiation: Process and Procedures

This article is the first in the Practical Environmental Crisis Communication series, a group of three articles that steps the reader through the process of preparing for crisis communication, procedures that need to be thought out and put in place before a crisis, using a "crisis communication team" approach, effective message creation and effective media relations, and, finally, post-crisis assessment and follow-up, both to address remaining stakeholder questions or concerns and to make improvements, where needed, in the crisis communication process. 

This first article, which was published in the Winter 2011 issue of Environmental Quality Management, includes checklists that will help readers determine how well prepared they are to launch a crisis communication response and that spells out the duties of the crisis communication team members.

Practical Environmental Crisis Communication: Messaging

This article is the second in the Practical Environmental Crisis Communication series and received an APEX Award of Excellence for "Green Writing" in 2012.  This article includes worksheets to assist communicators in preparing messages that will cover the concerns that both the media and stakeholders (e.g., neighbors, local officials) are likely to have regarding an incident that has had an impact on the environment.  The article also discusses how to work with the media.  This article initially appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of Environmental Quality Management.
Practical Environmental Crisis Communication: Postcrisis Review and Recovery

This is the third article in the Practical Environmental Crisis Communication series.  It discusses how to assess the effectiveness of the crisis communication response with an emphasis on identifying questions or concerns that stakeholders may still have and improving crisis communication procedures to improve future responses.  This article also includes a section on Media Monitoring and analysis and what steps can be taken to improve the accuracy of news reporting and to correct misinformation.  Finally, this article includes a comprehensive crisis communication planning checklist that readers can use to assess their readiness to communicate effectively about crises.  Originally published in the Summer issue of Environmental Quality Management.
Environmental Public Involvement and Outreach: Tools and Commentary

Do you ever wonder how best to engage the public to discuss environmental issues?  This article, which appeared in the Fall 2012 Issue of Environmental Quality Management, describes how best to design and implement various standard community and stakeholder outreach tools, such as small-group meetings, availability sessions, open houses, and the like.  The article discusses factors that professionals should consider when choosing outreach tools to ensure the best "fit" with the community, particularly in regard to environmental justice issues.
The following documents are also available for download from the Environmental Justice page of this website along with additional information on their relevance.

Summary of Plan EJ 2014

This briefing document covers the elements of U.S. EPA's Environmental Justice initiative, Plan EJ (for Environmental Justice) 2014.  The date, 2014 marks the twentieth anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 12898, "Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations."
Summary of "Indicators" that EPA is Using/Considering for Use to Identify Environmental Justice Communities and Populations

This summary consists of excerpts taken directely from the U.S. EPA document, "Toolkit for Assessing Potential Allegations of Environmental Injustice," along with some of our own suggestions and commentary.
Comments on "Best Practices" in community outreach by permit applicants submitted to EPA

This document contains the comments of Carol J. Forrest of Rose Hill Communications, Inc., in response to the June 26, 2012 Federal Register Notice, "EPA Activities to Promote Environmental Justice in the Permit Application Process, Appendix -- Best Practices for Permit Applicants Seeking EPA-Issued Permits: Ways to Engage Communities at the Fence-line."