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An Evaluation of State Energy Facility Siting Acts

Gail L. Achterman, Peter Mostow, Resources Development, Environmental Land Management, and Permitting (1996)

State energy facility siting acts, like lava lamps and disco music, are a product of the 1970s. While at the beginning of that decade no western state legislature had systematically addressed major facility siting, by 1980 most had enacted comprehensive laws designed to regulate both substantive and procedural aspect of siting.1 To many developers trying to negotiate their way through this legal terrain, the siting acts are more reminiscent of the perplexing, slow-motion irregularity of lava lamps than of the fast-paced and predictable disco beat. This paper reviews the origins of comprehensive or “one-stop” energy facility siting statutes, sketches their present scope and attempts to evaluate their continuing value in today's world.