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Title:Damnesia: An examination of public participation and evolving approaches to hydropower development in the United States and Brazil
Author(s):Cecala, Ian E.
Advisor(s):Endres, Bryan
Contributor(s):Lavey, Warren; Keenan, Patrick
Department / Program:Natural Res & Env Sci
Discipline:Natural Res & Env Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:M.S.
Genre:Thesis
Subject(s):Public participation
Hydropower
hydroelectric
dams
Environmental law
Governance
Environmental Impact Statement
National Environmental Policy Act
Endangered Species Act
Federal Power Act
Brazil
Belo Monte
Indigenous peoples
Native Americans
Abstract:Large hydropower projects have long been political flashpoints where environmental, economic and social considerations have vied for priority. Historically, economic benefits of large hydropower projects have been assumed to outweigh the costs, a rationale which catalyzed the construction of large hydropower dams around the world with little regard for their socio-environmental externalities. Brazil is still in a semi-developmental stage and accordingly perceives a higher demand for large hydropower projects and infrastructure. While hydropower can bring immense benefits to Brazil’s energy infrastructure, Belo Monte’s location in the Amazon presents serious socio-environmental concerns that are straining Brazil’s legal and regulatory regimes. After a period of explosive growth in dam construction, the United States is now shifting into a period of dam removal and decommission. This is partly due to increased awareness regarding the environmental and social impacts of dams, but made possible by the well-established cadre of statues, regulatory agencies, and advocacy groups with the power to drive meaningful change. The accountability and flexibility built into legal and regulatory frameworks in the United States have enabled the law to adapt and overcome deficiencies in addressing externalities surrounding hydropower development. Public participation has evolved into a key element underlying any policy-based approach to conservation, natural resources management, or application of modern environmental law. The distinction between public participation that is “meaningful” as opposed to public participation that is merely “due” under the law will only become more relevant as the social, environmental and economic externalities imposed by hydropower projects become a larger consideration in regulatory law and policy. Examining this distinction through case studies in the United States and Brazil offers an increasingly relevant perspective on public participation’s role in addressing hydropower externalities.
Issue Date:2018-04-23
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/101044
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Ian Cecala
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
Date Deposited:2018-05


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