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Gossman Consulting, Inc.


Community Relations and Outreach Via the World Wide Web (Internet)

Introduction

So called environmentalists have had an envious communication network for many years. Whereas it used to be primarily by telephone, now it has switched to the world wide web. Local access phone charges can reach all around the world. Pretty impressive! Why not use this to your advantage? (Your current web site may market your product, but does it present your plant to the community?) Gossman Consulting, Inc. is proposing to make a case in your favor on your own community relations pages on the World Wide Web. This way your community relations will be effective not only locally but all over the world. You know that you are doing good things for the local economy and the environment, so why not advertise this the best way you can? GCI proposes to build a virtual tour of your plant. In addition, we propose to make information you want to disseminate available and understandable to the greater local and world-wide community. We can walk web surfers through your manufacturing process. We can avoid propriety information and still make a convincing case in your favor.

List of Potential Sections for Web Site

  1. Virtual Plant Tour
    1. raw materials
    2. raw material processing
    3. process operations
    4. air pollution control
    5. control room
    6. finished product
    7. shipping
    8. waste management
    9. quality control
  2. Summary of toxic release inventory (this will help repel erroneous negative reports such as "largest area polluter")
  3. Outline of regulatory permits and more detail of desired sections.
  4. Who are we? - a series of pages highlighting key plant personnel and their role in the plant
  5. Special sections for notable on-site activities such as waste recycling or minimization.

GCI Capabilities

GCI uses high-end computers and invests in a variety of software that can be used to develop web pages. Our software includes Nvu as well as graphics manipulation software. Hardware includes both a high resolution color scanner, digital still and video camera and equipment to capture stills from videos such as those taken during a trial burn or compliance test. GCI's experience is reflected in our own corporate and personal web sites.

Costs

The cost of developing a community outreach web site can range from hundreds, to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the sophistication of the site. GCI has located an access provider that provides host sites at very competitive rates (less than $1,000/year) as part of this service.(Or we can develop the site on your existing host.) We would recommend that only a portion of the above potential sections be brought on line as a first phase to allow review and feedback on costs and format. Depending on the overall complexity of the desired site, we would anticipate costs to be $10,000 to $100,000. As an example, htpp://gcisolutions.com with over 200 pages of linked technical information and GCI's virtual office has 500 to 600 man-hours invested in its development. It may be worth considering the placement of a computer with a link to the internet in the local public library or community center as part of this community relations program.

Conclusion

Community relations via the internet provides an effective means of satisfying the growing regulatory requirements of keeping the public informed. The internet format provides greater control over the information than traditional tours and face to face meetings with the public. Web access can permit response to public concerns early or before they get blown out of proportion. When responded to promptly and effectively, your rebuttal to inflammatory accusations are as readily available to readers in your community as the inflammatory material itself. Technical, environmental and legal staff all have the opportunity to review material prior to making it public. As an added benefit, communications with the press, regulatory officials and permit engineers can be greatly enhanced by providing them with an on-line tour/information resource. This could significantly reduce the time and effort required to meet the needs of those individuals during permitting and inspections. GCI can turn out results on a basic phase one approach in 60 days. We look forward to getting started.