Differing Views of Uncertainty in Environmental Controversies: the Kearl Oil Sands Case, 2003-2008 in Canada.

Robaey, Zoë (2008) Differing Views of Uncertainty in Environmental Controversies: the Kearl Oil Sands Case, 2003-2008 in Canada. Masters thesis, Maastricht University.

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Abstract

Canada’s oil industry is thriving thanks to the recent and continuously increasing interest for the Albertan oil sands. While for some the oil sands are a success story others consider them one of Canada’s greatest social and environmental threats. Recently, a major controversy has evolved around the Kearl Oil Sands project (2003-2008) regarding what level of environmental uncertainties was acceptable or not and how to deal with them. In this thesis, the negotiation processes between the different social groups involved in this controversy will be analysed through a social constructivist perspective. Since the debate revolves around uncertainties, the groups’ discourses and approaches to uncertainties will be contrasted. In the end, this study shows that there are two main positions about uncertainties. While the environmentalist groups regard them as unspecified and stable and undertake a precautionary approach to developments, the oil industry and the government consider them as specified and temporary, thus advocating more expertise and adaptive management. This analysis provides an insight on the social construction of environmental problems and how they are legally dealt with.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Related URLs:
    Uncontrolled Keywords: environmental, controversy, uncertainty, oil sands, canada
    Subjects: Natural Resources and Industry > Energy
    Natural Environment > Terrestrial
    Organizations: Unspecified
    Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2011 17:25
    URI: http://library.arcticportal.org/id/eprint/1486

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