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Policy Statement 139 - Public Involvement in the Decision Making Process

 

Approved by the Engineering Practice Policy Committee on March 14, 2019
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on April 28, 2019
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2019

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the involvement of individual citizens and coalitions in the legislative and regulatory decision making processes of engineering projects. ASCE encourages civil engineers to act in a way that informs, educates, and engages the public about proposed policies, plans, designs, projects, and programs and seeks appropriate public involvement.  

Issue

Civil engineers are charged with protecting and enhancing public health, safety, and welfare.  Rapid change in technology and demand for new infrastructure have placed a higher burden on natural resources and environment. Public awareness about the long-term effects of engineering projects and programs on the health, safety, and welfare of individuals is critical for making informed decisions. Therefore, public involvement in the decision-making process of engineering projects ensures that a wide variety of viewpoints have been assessed.

Rationale

Civil engineers have a responsibility to develop clear scopes of work and analyze the costs, benefits, and impacts of proposed actions. This information serves to educate the general public and assist public officials in making better informed decisions on engineering projects. 

Civil engineers have the opportunity to influence project outcomes. In order to be viewed as a trusted resource to the public, and to aid in the decision-making process, civil engineers are encouraged to effectively communicate using language that is easily understood by the public, which allows for meaningful dialogue.

Civil engineers are encouraged to participate in and seek appropriate public involvement through:

  • Public meetings and social media information programs and meetings
  • Presentations and discussions of viable alternatives including the engineering, environmental, social and economic impacts;
  • Explanations of the impact of decisions made; and
  • Active participation in elected or appointed legislative or regulatory bodies of government. 

ASCE Policy Statement 139
First Approved pre-1974

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