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Negotiating Science and Policy in Collaborative Hydropower Licensing

Nicola Ulibarri (University of California) & Kirk Emerson (University of Arizona)

June 2016


This simulation highlights the role of technical and scientific information in environmental negotiations. It uses the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) integrated process for licensing hydropower facilities to introduce students to multiparty negotiation and collaboration in a complex environmental decision-making setting. Participants learn how to seek their interests through advocating for specific studies that can provide credible information on the impacts of dam operations; how to work with other stakeholders to negotiate the best-informed set of management conditions for the new license using uncertain—but best available—science; and how science and politics interact to influence collaboratively-reached decisions.