The Impacts of Macro-Political Structures on the Influence of Municipalities, Traditional Land Users, and Indigenous Governance Structures in EIA Processes
Plante, Melanie D 1992-
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Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) are recognized as a vital planning tool in insuring the sustainable development of resource dependent communities. However, critics point out that the lack of efficiency and efficacy in the process impedes EIAs full potential. One dynamic often criticized for hindering this potential is politics, while there is a consensus that EIAs are inherently political how politics impacts the process is still poorly understood. Part of this is attributed to the limited EIA literature studying the root of politics: power. This thesis will study power and politics in EIA by using an analytical framework based on Anthony Giddens’s structuration theory to examine the impacts of macro political structures on stakeholder dynamics. By conducting an in-depth comparative case study on two EIAs for mining projects, one in Northern Saskatchewan and one in Northern Norway, this thesis identifies that indigenous peoples in the Northern Saskatchewan case had more influence on the EIA process than their Norwegian counterparts, while the local level government in the Norwegian case had more opportunities to influence the EIA process than the local governments in Northern Saskatchewan. The study finds that these differences can largely be attributed to differences in the macro political structures, such as indigenous rights and the authority of different levels of governance, in each country.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeHibbard, Neil; Deonandan, Kalowatie; Noble, Bram
Copyright DateAugust 2016