- Copyright ©2003. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists/Division of Environmental Geosciences. All rights reserved.
This article advocates the idea for a rationale allocation of resources to reduce the physical and economic uncertainties that dominate the performance of an environmental project through the integration of scientific and economic analyses.
Scientific analyses of environmental hazards are hindered by significant uncertainties that arise from poor understanding of the complex interaction of physical, chemical, and biological processes that control these hazards and the limited amount of data that, in most cases, are not error free. Moreover, the existing technological solutions are limited in their efficiency, expensive to implement, and can generate by-products that are difficult to control. From a financial perspective, scientific uncertainties and limitations of the technological solutions are only a subset of the total uncertainties. Changing political, financial, and regulatory conditions constitute other unpredictable components in a project's performance and financial return. The objectives of this article are (1) to propose a methodology that will improve our capabilities to identify and prioritize the dominant scientific and economic indicators in environmental projects and (2) to suggest resource allocation for uncertainty reduction that is based on fully integrated environmental risk assessments.
Evan K. Paleologos is an associate professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of South Carolina. With a doctorate in hydrology, he specializes in problems of ground-water flow and contaminant transport, as well as decision making in environmental projects. The author of over 40 articles and 2 books, he has been the recipient of many professional honors and has been serving on the editorial board of two scientific journals, Stochastic Hydrology & Hydraulics and Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment.Theodora Avanidou is a Ph.D. graduate from the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Her research interests include vadose hydrology, ground-water flow and contaminant transport in porous media, and stochastic models of fluid flow. She has published seven articles, and she has received several honors and awards.
Ian Lerche is an award-winning researcher and professor of geology at the University of South Carolina. His current major research interests are basin analysis, salt, economic risk, and environmental problems. He has published several hundred papers, together with over a dozen books. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Levorsen Award of the American Association of Professional Geologists. Currently, he sits on several editorial boards and is also technical editor of Energy Exploration & Exploitation.