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Showing posts from August, 2014

Oil sands foes should use facts, not a popularity contest, to sway opinion

By: Gwyn Morgan, Globe and Mail

Under Canadian laws, major projects are subjected to regulatory hearings conducted by panels possessing the necessary expertise to reach technically and environmentally sound decisions. Proponents and opponents make their cases for and against, recognizing that the tribunal will make the final determination of the project’s fate.

That was before “social licence,” a term invented two decades ago by B.C. mining engineer James Cooney, morphed into an additional obstacle facing project sponsors. James Cooney’s new term was meant to describe a process whereby local populations would be informed about a project and their feedback taken into consideration in final plan design.

This logical and clearly important step has since evolved into the expectation that no project should proceed without gaining broad “social licence,” thereby presenting anti-development lobby groups with the opportunity to impact a project’s fate by fostering opposition not only from those …