Procedures for large-scale energy projects: local communities and siting processes in the Arctic

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Large-scale development of Arctic energy resources for the economies south of the Arctic Circle requires environmental impact assessment in most countries and, in the case of northern Canada, the negotiation of impact and benefit agreements. This article discusses problems involved in implementing standardized procedures in the Arctic with reference to Finnish and Canadian examples of siting processes. In the context of environmental impact assessment, some scholars have observed an international convergence of concepts and practices, despite major differences in legal traditions between, for instance, the North American and European jurisdictions. Accordingly, I argue, such a convergence has resulted in the production of tools which are indifferent to local communities, cultures and local needs, on the one hand, and which generally exclude strategic consideration of development alternatives on the other. While political cohesion is lacking, and questions of indigenous rights to land and resources remain unresolved in many parts of the Arctic, managerial practices entail new governance models for the region. These purport priorities of environmental protection, but fail to provide local communities with adequate opportunities to participate in decision-making processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-112
Number of pages20
JournalThe Polar Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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