An Overview of the Environmental Issue Petition Process

Allison Ryan
March 4, 2009 — 1,712 views  
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If you have an environmental issue that you feel needs to be addressed, there is a petition process that all citizens are required to follow. You do need to do your research about the issue and contact your local government authority to find out more about the project and express your concerns. This will help you decide if this project warrants a review and whether or not you need to start a petition about the issue.

Once you have permission for writing a petition, the next part of the petition process is to actually write the petition. This requires you to write a short and concise opening statement that expresses your concerns. Those who read the petition forms and sign their names in support don't want to spend a lot of time reading before they get to the point. The same thing applies to the agency to which you want to submit the petition. The words and phrases you use should express your concerns without be too long and boring.

Research is an important part of the petition process for environmental issues. There is little use in simply expressing your displeasure with a project or even explaining the reasons for your opposition. In order for your petition to be successful in garnering support by collecting the requisite number of petition signatures you do need to present background information that shows you are correct in having concerns. This means finding examples of studies or petitions against other similar projects that have proven to be successful.

Sometimes projects are not considered large enough to warrant an environmental review. In this case you may have to contact your local government officials and discuss your issues with them to try to change their minds about taking a second look at the project.

Once you have the permission to start the citizen petition and the project that you are concerned about receives approval for an environmental review, your petition needs at least 25 signatures in order for you to file the petition. Once you have this number, as part of the petition process, you do have to write a letter to the person who is proposing this project informing him/her that you have filed a petition against the project.

You may encounter some problem gathering the information you need for the petition if you rely on online sources. However, local projects do have plenty of advertisements, such as billboards, newspaper articles, and leaflets passed out by the project proposers. You can also check the plans with the local zoning and planning commission and get permission to view the plans. As a citizen this is your right.

Such a petition format requires detailed information about how this proposed project will have a negative impact on the environment. You can discuss ways in which it will harm any wetlands, lakes or rivers or animal habitats in the area. With the supporting evidence you present in the petition, this type of petition process requires that you do more than just raise questions in the minds of the readers and those in authority.

You have to prove that this project will definitely be harmful to the environment of allowed to go ahead. The amount of supporting evidence you need depends on the situation, but it could include letters from scientists and other experts, testimonials from others who have been in the same position, site plans and photographs.

About the Author

Allison Ryan is a freelance marketing writer from San Diego, CA. She specializes in motivation, leadership, and the proper steps to take in filing a citizen petition. For sample petition forms, check out!

Allison Ryan