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Environmental impact assessment: evidence-based policymaking in Brazil

Hochstetler, Kathryn ORCID: 0000-0003-2960-058X (2017) Environmental impact assessment: evidence-based policymaking in Brazil. Contemporary Social Science: Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences. ISSN 2158-2041

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Identification Number: 10.1080/21582041.2017.1393556


Environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures aim to prospectively collect evidence about the environmental impacts of economic projects and to avoid or compensate for those costs. This article asks whether such procedures have been effective in Latin America after many regional countries returned to some version of the developmental state after 2000. It does so by surveying the procedural effectiveness of Latin American regulations comparatively before turning to a deeper study of the Brazilian case. In Brazil, which has some of the strongest EIA procedures in the region, it finds that stakeholders make very different assessments of EIA effectiveness, not least because they define the standard differently. Economic actors in and out of the state criticize Brazilian EIA as ineffective from a transactive standpoint, which questions the time and cost associated with environmental licensing. Environmental and community activists see EIA as ineffective in achieving the substantive sustainability ends they value. Neither appreciates the procedural improvements licensing professionals have offered. The article concludes that EIA invites a broader set of stakeholders than did classic developmental states, but cannot on its own adjudicate among the resulting multiple visions of how to carry out development strategies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Academy of Social Sciences
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2017 10:24
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:33

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