Investigation of Public Discourse Methods in Energy Policy Decision-Making: A Summary of What You Told Us and What We Learned

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The ground is littered with projects that failed because of strong public opposition, including natural gas and coal power plants proposed in Idaho over the past several years. This joint project , of the Idaho National Laboratory, Boise State University, Idaho State University and University of Idaho has aimed to add to the tool box to reduce project risk through encouraging the public to engage in more critical thought and be more actively involved in public or social issues. Early in a project, project managers and decision-makers can talk with no one, pro and con stakeholder groups, or members of ... continued below

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Team, Analysis; DeShazo, Eileen; Freemuth, John; Giannini, Tina; Hall, Troy; Hunter, Ann et al. September 1, 2010.

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Description

The ground is littered with projects that failed because of strong public opposition, including natural gas and coal power plants proposed in Idaho over the past several years. This joint project , of the Idaho National Laboratory, Boise State University, Idaho State University and University of Idaho has aimed to add to the tool box to reduce project risk through encouraging the public to engage in more critical thought and be more actively involved in public or social issues. Early in a project, project managers and decision-makers can talk with no one, pro and con stakeholder groups, or members of the public. Experience has shown that talking with no one outside of the project incurs high risk because opposition stakeholders have many means to stop most (if not all) energy projects. Talking with organized stakeholder groups provides some risk reduction from mutual learning, but organized groups tend not to change positions except under conditions of a negotiated settlement. Achieving a negotiated settlement may be impossible. Furthermore, opposition often arises outside pre-existing groups. Standard public polling provides some information but does not reveal underlying motivations, intensity of attitudes, etc. Improved methods are needed that probe deeper into stakeholder (organized groups and members of the public) values and beliefs (sometimes called /heuristics) to increase the potential for change of opinions and/or out-of-box solutions. The term “heuristics” refers to the mental short-cuts, underlying beliefs, and paradigms that everyone uses to filter and interpret information, to interpret what is around us, and to guide our actions and decisions. This document is the final report of a 3-year effort to test different public discourse methods in the subject area of energy policy decision-making. We analyzed 504 mail-in surveys and 80 participants in groups on the Boise State University campus for their preference, financial support, and evaluations of eight attributes for energy conservation and efficiency, fossil fuels, nuclear energy, hydropower, and renewable energy. All participants saw a 7-person diverse energy expert panel. Some participants attended deliberation sessions; some received a 35-page briefing document that included pros and cons of the different energy options.

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  • Report No.: INL/EXT-10-19548
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • DOI: 10.2172/1004260 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1004260
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc836001

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  • September 1, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 5, 2016, 9:46 p.m.

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Team, Analysis; DeShazo, Eileen; Freemuth, John; Giannini, Tina; Hall, Troy; Hunter, Ann et al. Investigation of Public Discourse Methods in Energy Policy Decision-Making: A Summary of What You Told Us and What We Learned, report, September 1, 2010; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc836001/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.