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Title: Setting boundaries of participation in environmental impact assessment

Public participation processes are touted as an effective way to increase the capacity and legitimacy of environmental assessment and the regulatory process that rely on them. Recent changes to the Canadian environmental assessment process narrowed the criteria for who can participate in environmental assessments from any who were interested to those who were most directly affected. This article examines the potential consequences of this change by exploring other areas of Canadian regulatory law where a similar directed affected test has been applied. This new standard risks institutionalizing the long-understood representational bias confronted by more diffuse interest like environmental protection. Restricting participation to the “directly affected” is far too narrow a test for processes like environmental assessment that are designed to determine the public interest. -- Highlights: • Public participation can improve the legitimacy of environmental assessments. • New Canadian rules narrow the range of eligible participants. • Similar rules in Alberta have excluded environmental representation. • The new rules may institutionalize bias against more diffuse interests. • Restricting participation to the “directly affected” is far too narrow.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. University of Alberta, Department of Political Science, 10-16 Henry Marshall Tory Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H4 (Canada)
  2. University of British Columbia, Faculty of Forestry, Forest Sciences Centre 2045, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4 (Canada)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22246936
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Impact Assessment Review; Journal Volume: 45; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; ALBERTA; CAPACITY; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS; ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY; ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION; HEALTH HAZARDS