Scaling up site disputes: strategies to redefine ‘local’ in the fight against fracking
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. ABSTRACT: Plans to replace an aging diesel backup energy plant with liquid natural gas (LNG) generators in Whitehorse, Yukon, resulted in a public outcry, involving community meetings, massive petitions, and demonstrations. Are these civil society protests just a case of a local siting dispute – a response to an unwanted industrial site in an urban neighborhood? Here, it is argued that siting debates are not the driver of these campaigns, but instead are harnessed by activists to advance a broader environmental movement. By linking the LNG project to more distant extraction, involving hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’), movement leaders portray the entire territory as part of the ‘local’ for Whitehorse residents. Movement leaders rely upon two key mechanisms: claiming insider status, and identifying visible symbols. This case reveals the strategic use by environmental movements of local concerns to recruit support for broader campaigns, and the value of local, place-based activism for broader environmental movements.
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