Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
The French Enquête d'Utilité Publique is generally (if not always) a stitch-up. It is open to all members of the public, but you may only make observations, propose data... And you cannot relate the object of the enquiry to any larger scheme (such as the ecology of the region).

I'll post some more later, have to go now.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 30th, 2011 at 12:23:44 PM EST
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Given that opponents cannot link the proposal to any other, or any larger scheme of things, it's obviously in the interest of promoters (whoever they may be, private or public or both in bed with each other) to chop their projects up into smaller bits. This is called saucissonnage in French.

A local example is in the continued and long-to-continue rape of the pebble and gravel range I live on. This is deep and high-quality in terms of "noble" aggregates for construction and public works. The extractive industries lobbied successfully to get a dispensation from the normal regulation, and began putting in projects they'd been buying up land for for some years. Several companies each put in several extraction projects. Each project had its own enquiry. You could not even state that other projects existed all around the one the commissioner was dealing with (generally the same commissioner as the other enquiries). You could not bring evidence on the total destructive impact on the aquifer of nearly 1,000 hectares of gravel pits. You could not talk about the (long-term) pollution of the aquifer spreading to the river close by, and about the drinking water supply of a major city downstream. You could not talk about the creation of a new micro-climate (because of the considerable water surface) for the local area. You could not complain about the quasi-privatisation of previously public goods, like the trunk road south through the gravel pits. You could not make the general point that this massive extraction was unnecessary, and was based on projections for the 50-year growth of the suburbs of said major city that were in fact the extractive, construction and public works industries' wishful (but probably self-fulfilling) projections.

All projects sailed through the "Public Utility" enquiries. Except one or two that encroached on the zone TPTB are reserving for maybe an airport one day.

So fake transparent, fake democratic.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 30th, 2011 at 03:38:29 PM EST
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