Ian Stewart presented a paper at the 40th AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response (AMOP), hosted by Environment Canada and Climate Change, 3-5 October 2017, in Calgary. The seminar focused largely on the fate, behaviour, effects and response options to oil spills in marine environments, particularly regarding ice conditions. Over 90 papers, given in parallel sessions, represented the latest science, policy, and technical research by experts within government, industry, academia, and NGOs in North America and further afield. AMOP is recognized as one of the premier conferences internationally for this area of environmental science and management.
Ian’s paper, “Expert vs. non-expert knowledge in oil spill response planning: A social sciences perspective,” focused on an environmental impact assessment (EIA) approach that has gathered a lot of attention of late, namely, Net Environmental Benefit Analysis (NEBA). This approach is used as an optimization calculation for response technologies and management systems in the event of an oil spill. The paper drew on EIUI insights on information flow of environmental information to offer both historical and conceptual analyses of NEBA, primarily about the ways scientific expertise interacts with the “non-expertise” possessed by potentially affected local communities (both First Nation and non-First Nation) in the event of an oil spill. The critical question of defining “endpoints” of remediation was central to the paper. The topic of expert/non-expert interactions in NEBA, but also quite broadly for EIAs, is currently of considerable interest to regulators, government policy and science experts, industries, and communities. One need only consult www.discussionpaper.ca to gain a sense of interest at the federal level. The paper generated much discussion and follow up. EIUI’s research interests in the use and influence of environmental information applied to practical scenarios of environmental science and management, it is hoped, will contribute to future policy discussion.
Author: Ian Stewart