The political economy of the Mount Graham International Observatory facility siting conflict
AdvisorWilson, Paul N.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe absolutist nature of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 encourages uneven enforcement, lengthy litigation, and rent seeking in the public policy process. There are net social benefits to be captured from a cooperative approach to facility siting. The narrow utility functions involved in unilateral facility siting attempts often ignore costs shifted on to others from development. Inclusion of all affected parties in facility planning can achieve siting of the right projects in the right places at least social cost. The institutional structure of an economy is deterministic with respect to efficient policy outcomes. Political power plays a central role in natural resource conflicts, frequently affecting the role of science in policy debates. An analysis of the Mt. Graham International Observatory facility siting conflict illustrates these findings.