Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Niels West


This study examined a case of conflict between Federal decision-makers and local citizens regarding the selection of a clean-up plan for a coastal area contaminated by hazardous wastes. A prolonged dispute over remediation of the New Bedford Harbor Superfund Site resulted in a series of facilitated discussions intended to resolve the conflict. A descriptive survey was used to explore the effect of the discussions upon the risk perceptions of citizens and managers, thereby examining the effectiveness of the facilitated discussions in resolving conflict at the Site. The study found that the facilitated discussions did not cause risk perceptions to converge, and concluded that the discussions averted, rather than resolved, conflict between citizens and managers at the New Bedford Harbor Superfund Site.