Stakeholders and Scientists

pp 255-281


Joint Fact Finding and Stakeholder Consensus Building at the Altamont Wind Resource Area in California

  • Gina BartlettAffiliated withCenter for Collaborative Policy, California State University, Sacramento Email author 

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This chapter provides a brief overview of conflict in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area and an in-depth description of the joint fact-finding process designed to improve stakeholder consensus on the complex scientific issues associated with avian fatality and wind power. High political and economic stakes and contentious, uncertain science has created a highly complex environment for crafting policy. The chapter provides a brief history of research and avian mortality issues, the policy and political environment, and key stakeholders and interests. The joint fact-finding process and the consensus-building structure and collaborative outcomes are illustrated. The author concludes that the Scientific Review Committee has successfully fulfilled its charge, yet the larger policy question associated with minimizing avian fatalities and maximizing wind energy has remained largely unresolved. As the wind companies and other interested parties move toward replacing outdated turbines, a different consensus-seeking approach will likely be necessary to grapple with the scientific, political, economic and policy issues necessary to affect change and realize consensus.