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31 Colum. J. Envtl. L. 45 (2006)
Designing Environmental Indicator Systems for Public Decisions

handle is hein.journals/cjel31 and id is 51 raw text is: Designing Environmental Indicator
Systems for Public Decisions
James M. McElfish, Jr. and Lyle M. Varnell
Introduction   ................................................................................   45
I. History of Environmental Indicator Development ................. 46
A. Federal and State Environmental Indicator Projects ....... 47
B. Research on Environmental Indicator Design ................... 52
II. Institutional Factors Affecting Indicator Utility ..................... 54
A. Identified Management Purpose ......................................... 55
1. Decisionmaker Characteristics and Objectives ................. 56
2. Connecting System Design with Management Objectives ... 69
B. Spatial Relationship of Indicators to Decisions ................... 74
C. Process for Maintaining and Delivering Indicators ............. 79
1. Policy  Considerations .......................................................   79
2. Institutional Choices .........................................................  81
III. C onclusions  ............................................................................  85
INTRODUCTION
Government agencies and academic scientists have developed
reliable sets of environmental indicators to assist in making
decisions. This very recent trend has been driven in part by
scientific advances that make it possible to construct indicators that
are both rigorous and informative, and in part by policies that seek
to justify environmental expenditures as likely to produce the
beneficial results that they intend. Environmental indicators offer
* James M. McElfish, Jr., Senior Attorney, Environmental Law Institute, J.D. Yale Law
School 1979; Lyle M. Varnell, Assistant Director for Advisory Services, Virginia Institute of
Marine Science, M.S. Biological Oceanography, Old Dominion Univ. Former ELI staff
attorney Roman Czebiniak contributed to this research. This research was supported in part
by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency STAR Grant No. R82868401, supporting the work
of the Atlantic Slope Consortium. The Consortium includes teams of researchers from Penn
State University, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, the Virginia Institute of
Marine Science, Eastern Carolina University, the Environmental Law Institute, and FTN
Associates. This article has not been subjected to EPA review and does not necessarily reflect
the views of the Agency; no official endorsement should be inferred.

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