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In the United States, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is responsible for issuing or renewing licenses for hydropower projects owned and operated by power companies. During the licensing process, these companies are required to consult with agencies and other parties that are affected by project operating regimes. Typical participants include state and federal fish and wildlife agencies, environmental interest groups, and the FERC. One of the most difficult tasks facing participants is to reach agreement about what kinds of environmental conditions should be placed on license. Researchers at the United States Geological Survey developed a model to analyze the institutional context of natural resource disputes. The Legal-Institutional Analysis Model (LIAM) is a computerized model that allows an analyst to determine the likely behavior of each organization in a conflict. The model also analyzes the types and levels of negotiating power held by each organization. Researchers at the USGS have used the model in several cases involving hydropower license applications. To use the model, they facilitate workshops for stakeholder groups in order to develop a shared understanding of the likely obstacles and opportunities for successful resolution of the issues. This allows a systematic workshop analyses to develop strategies for successful negotiations, because they are able to better understand the negotiation problem and work more effectively with both their allies and their competitors.
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Use of the Legal-Institutional Analysis Model to assess hydropower licensing negotiations
Colorado State University, Office of Conference Services