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Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) as a means to include environmental knowledge in decision making in the case of an aluminium reduction plant in Greenland

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The purpose and means of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) can vary depending on the case investigated and interests of actors involved. Based on the objective for the SEA of a proposed aluminium reduction plant (ARP) in Greenland, this paper evaluates the SEA's effectiveness in securing environmental knowledge in a decision-making process. It is concluded that the SEA secured inclusion of environmental knowledge in three out of four key decision arenas, which determined the direction and outcome of the process. The results from the SEA did not oppose the recommendations based on the economic assessments. As there was no conflict between economic and environmental recommendations, and hence no visible proof of SEA's influence on the outcome of the decision, it is discussed whether environmental knowledge, in this decision making process, equals influence. The investigation was carried out as a part of a PhD project and is meant as a contribution to the debate about how to investigate SEA effectiveness and to broaden the understanding of the use of SEA in Greenland.
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Keywords: Greenland; aluminium; decision making; effectiveness; planning; strategic environmental assessment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Development and Planning,Aalborg University, Fibigerstræde 13, no. 41, DK-9220 Aalborg Ø, Denmark

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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