Public participation is the general term for diverse formal processes by which public concerns, needs, and values are incorporated in governmental decisions. Public participation involves the use of techniques such as public meetings and hearings, advisory committees, interactive workshops, interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, and other methods to identify public concerns and preferences and address them during decision making. It does not include nonformal means of public involvement ranging from lobbying to letter campaigns and protests.
Most recent federal laws authorizing or establishing federal programs, including the latest environmental laws, contain requirements that agencies consult with the public during the design and implementation of the program. If money is given to the states, then these public participation requirements are also passed on to the states.
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