Law and Public Policy
Session: D10(b) - Workshop - Environmental Politics: Contentious Environmental Politics
Date: May 31, 2017 | Time: 03:45pm to 05:15pm | Location: VIC-303 (Victoria Building)| iOS / Outlook
Chair/Présidente: Stephanie Tombari (University of Guelph)
Discussant/Commentateur: Christopher Gore (Ryerson University)Stewart Fast
(University of Ottawa), Stephen Bird
(Clarkson University), Colleen Collins
(Canada West Foundation), Monica Gattinger
(University of Ottawa), Laura Nourallah
(University of Ottawa) : Predicting Local Community Attitudes Towards Energy Project Decision AuthoritiesAbstract:
Energy development decisions in Canada and elsewhere have generated a great deal of controversy. Effectively engaging stakeholders and setting appropriate policies requires insights into public confidence in energy authorities. Using a sample of local citizens (n = 1795) proximate to four different proposed and cancelled or recently built energy projects (electricity transmission, natural gas electricity plants, Northern Gateway Pipeline and seismic exploration for fracking), we examine factors affecting public confidence in the actions of energy project decision authorities.
The dependent variable in our regression analysis is support for decision of public authorities. In some cases the decision was approval of the energy project in some cases it was not. The survey allows us to test a number of hypotheses within the literature. First, that early efforts to consult with and engage citizens, including opportunities to question project proponents publicly will lead to higher confidence in the decisions of energy project authorities. Second, those closer to energy infrastructure will be no more or less likely to support or oppose the energy decision illustrating no NIMBY effect. Third, a perception of independence of the regulator from government or industry contributes to higher levels of confidence or trust in energy project decisions. Fourth, the knowledge deficit thesis is a poor model thus those with differing levels of energy literacy will be no more or less likely to support or oppose the energy decision. Fifth, people will be supportive only when the decision of energy authorities aligns with their personal perceptions of project risks and
(University of Toronto), Sarah Martin
(Memorial University of Newfoundland), Anna-Kay Russell
(University of Toronto) : Contesting Infrastructure: The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline as a Site of ProtestAbstract:
For decades, pipeline proposals have launched rural and sparsely populated regions into the public spotlight. Pipelines represent potential interruptions of land and community, as they fragment ecosystems, transform space, and impose risk on the places in between sites of production and consumption. Such infrastructure—infra, that which is under or below, the structures that underpin particular economies—must be seen as more than a pressure point in a contested commodity chain of oil and gas. As both physical objects and symbolic ideas, pipelines represent a state-based vision of nation-building, a corporate project of industrial transformation, and, conversely, a rallying point for local resistance.
In this paper, we interrogate the role of pipelines in these competing claims over territory, economies, and sovereignty. At the heart of the paper are questions about material objects in contentious resource claims: how do pipelines facilitate or constrain state expansion, corporate power, and/or local protest? For this, we investigate a specific and recurrent pipeline proposal—the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline in the Northwest Territories, considered from its initial proposal in the 1970s to current iterations. Using contentious politics and actor-network theory, we consider how pipelines are tangible links in otherwise abstract commodity chains, as they link upstream extraction with downstream consumption, local communities with state and corporate interests, and historical grievances with competing visions of the future.
Panel: Environmental issues—from climate change action to mineral extraction to siting renewable energy projects—provoke intense public reactions and responses. Questions of social and environmental justice are often at the heart of these debates, raising questions of who has voice and power in decision-making. This panel invites papers on claim-making around environmental decisions and resource development projects, whether bringing contentious politics theories to bear on environmental cases, or furthering theory on social movements and mobilization through the study of environmental conflicts.