Selecting locations for large energy facilities represents a land use dilemma: While such facilities are often beneficial to society at large, they can create concentrated local impacts. As a result, local opposition groups often form in response to such proposals; and, although opportunities for public participation are built into the process, questions remain as to their effectiveness. In an in-depth case study of the participation processes surrounding the proposed siting of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Coos Bay, Oregon, I find that local opponents’ previous experiences regarding industrial development proposals fostered mistrust of local decision makers and a sense of procedural injustice, while at the same time establishing a network of existing mobilizing structures through which LNG opponents were able to organize. I also show that the change in facility type from import to export helped to facilitate mobilization of opposition among landowners along the pipeline. In terms of supporters, perceptions that opponents were dominating public discussions of the proposal led them to form a strategic alliance with the proposing company and undertake a more concerted and organized effort to voice their support. I conclude with suggestions of how to improve public participation processes surrounding such controversial land use decisions.

Gaustad, Brittany V.
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School of Public Policy, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
Master of Science