Time for a New Approach to Environmental Assessments: Promoting Cooperation and Consensus for Sustainability

(2006) 26 Environmental Impact Assessment Review 185 - 205

21 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2014

See all articles by Meinhard Doelle

Meinhard Doelle

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law; World Maritime University (WMU); Dalhousie University - Marine and Environmental Law Institute

A. John Sinclair

University of Manitoba - Natural Resources Institute

Date Written: April 9, 2014

Abstract

One of the fundamental challenges of project based environmental assessments (EA) has been to deliver on the promise of meaningful public participation leading to decisions that put affected societies on the path to sustainability. The record to date has been less than promising, leading the authors to propose that it is time to consider a different approach to legislating public participation in project assessments, one that starts with the ultimate objective of cooperation and consensus building. The authors work back from this objective and propose an EA process specifically designed to encourage all participants to participate constructively. In the process, the authors identify how the proposed process will address various criticisms made of the traditional approach to EA by proponents, government officials and members of the public alike. Through a fundamental shift from process requirements to a focus on the outcomes of EA, the authors propose a way forward for project based EA to deliver on the promise of becoming a central tool on the path to sustainability.

Keywords: environmental assessment, public participation

Suggested Citation

Doelle, Meinhard and Sinclair, A. John, Time for a New Approach to Environmental Assessments: Promoting Cooperation and Consensus for Sustainability (April 9, 2014). (2006) 26 Environmental Impact Assessment Review 185 - 205. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2422950

Meinhard Doelle (Contact Author)

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law ( email )

6061 University Avenue
6061 University Ave
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4H9
Canada

World Maritime University (WMU) ( email )

Fiskehamnsgatan 1
P. O. Box 500
Malmö, Skane 20124
Sweden

Dalhousie University - Marine and Environmental Law Institute ( email )

6061 University Avenue
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4H9
Canada

A. John Sinclair

University of Manitoba - Natural Resources Institute ( email )

United States

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