CONCUR was a member of a team retained to provide advice to the Trinidad and Tobago Environmental Management Authority on the review of a set of proposals for new aluminum smelters, proposed to take advantage of that nation’s abundant natural gas resources.

CONCUR’s work on this project included a mix of environmental policy analysis, stakeholder assessment, and design of a potential process of independent scientific review, working with colleagues at the Trinidad-based firm DaCosta Gwendoline, Limited, and the Consensus Building Institute. Central to our approach was a situation assessment, built upon over 20 interviews with a broad cross section of key stakeholders. They included  senior officials of Alcoa, senior government officials, journalists, academicians, local residents, and representatives of the agriculture and fishing communities. Our team used the assessment to identify and clarify the diversity and complexity of stakeholder interests and the range of issues to be engaged.

Our assessment recommended that the EIA process incorporate steps that address the high degree complexity and public controversy and elevate the exchange of information. Our team drew on the situation assessment to propose specific language to be included in the final TOR. Specifically, the TOR calls for the use of independent scientific review and neutral facilitation of public workshops in which Alcoa representatives will engage key issues about the smelter with local residents and other interested parties. The EMA consulted with the Applicant, Alcoa and received comments from a broad cross-section of stakeholders and considered our team’s advice to the final TOR. EMA has adopted these recommendations and will proceed with the environmental review.