Strategic Environmental Assessment and Public Participation in Infrastructure Siting

Hilary Boudet and Joseph Grandolfo

in The Governance of Infrastructure

Published in print March 2017 | ISBN: 9780198787310
Published online April 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191829369 | DOI:

Series: Hertie Governance Report

Strategic Environmental Assessment and Public Participation in Infrastructure Siting

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The use of strategic (or programmatic) environmental assessment has been touted as a way to assess project impacts earlier and more comprehensively. Less well understood is how such an assessment occurs in practice and its implications for future public participation. This chapter presents a case study of wind energy siting in Klickitat County, Washington state—one of the first counties in the US to implement a wind energy overlay zone using a programmatic environmental impact assessment. The findings detailed in this chapter indicate that a dubious settlement agreement between local opponents and the developers of a landfill created an opportunity to mobilise support for a wind energy overlay zone. The zone facilitated development but limited future opportunities for opponent participation. The case raises questions about the role of strategic environmental assessment in expediting renewable energy development while maintaining the right of local communities to exercise meaningful voice.

Keywords: US; Washington state; strategic environmental assessment; environmental impact assessment; wind energy; siting; energy overlay zone; participation; renewable energy

Chapter.  8571 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Relations

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