Making sense of how proponents conspire to thwart environmental impact assessment processes: insights from the Miramar Resort controversy in Taiwan

Huang, Yi-Chen and Mabon, Leslie (2021). Making sense of how proponents conspire to thwart environmental impact assessment processes: insights from the Miramar Resort controversy in Taiwan. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09640568.2021.1944846

Abstract

Despite extensive enquiry into the socio-political aspects of environmental impact assessments (EIA), empirical material from east- and south-east Asia remains underrepresented in English-language scholarship. This is notable given increasing infrastructural developments and interest in environmental justice in the region. We contribute to this field by evaluating the Miramar Resort EIA controversy in Taitung County, Taiwan, to assess how a developer and a local government conspired to circumvent an EIA process. Through documentary analysis and stakeholder interviews, we assess the argumentation used by different actors to articulate their support for or opposition to the development. We find that much contention rests on claims to economic benefit and environmental protection that cannot be verified, and on limited participation opportunities. We call for further research into strategies used by proponents to discredit the knowledge and experience of opponents within EIA processes, especially given rising global interest in traditional, local and indigenous knowledge.

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