Squaring the Circle : Balancing the Economic Benefits of Unconventional Hydrocarbon Extraction with the Inimitable Cultural Significance of Environments

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Hydrocarbon extraction will continue for the foreseeable future, and undoubtedly impact upon regions and environments which this industry or indeed modern infrastructure had not done so previously. In light of this the paper considers how decisions with regard to the permitting or licensing of such projects might include the cultural significance of such environments more effectively. Focusing on the extraction of oil sands in Alberta, Canada as a model, the paper will establish the failings of established methods of assessing such values and whether human rights law, more accomplished in dealing with such subjective considerations, offers an alternative. Finally the paper will suggest a framework which, whilst incapable of solving all of the inherent issues in the inclusion of such subjective considerations in an industry so focused on quantification, might better balance them with the overbearing economic arguments for extraction.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages8
JournalThe Extractive Industries and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2014

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