Public involvement is recognized by legislators, practitioners, academics, nongovernment organizations and, most importantly, affected communities, as a fundamental component of environmental assessment (EA) processes. Experience with public involvement in EA has proven, however, that despite good intentions, there are formidable barriers to participation. This paper examines this issue, largely through a case study of a new Can$120 million hog processing facility in Brandon, Canada. Primary data were collected in three phases, using multiple methodological techniques, including document review, qualitative interviews, and a mail questionnaire. Results included a diverse list of barriers to involvement, grouped into two primary categories: structural and individual. A significant structural barrier was a belief that becoming involved would not make a difference as the ultimate decision in the case was a foregone conclusion. An important individual barrier was that people did not know about the EA. Finally, the results indicated that lack of interest was not an important reason for nonparticipation.