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Fueling ResistanceThe Contentious Political Economy of Biofuels and Fracking$
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Kate J. Neville

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197535585

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197535585.001.0001

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Biofuels in Kenya’s Tana Delta

Biofuels in Kenya’s Tana Delta

(p.76) 4 Biofuels in Kenya’s Tana Delta
Fueling Resistance

Kate J. Neville

Oxford University Press

This chapter tracks the dynamics of contestation over biofuels projects in Kenya’s Tana River delta, providing the first of two case study chapters that analyze how the dynamics of financing, ownership, and trade shaped local responses to proposed energy projects. Enthusiasm from some community members for producing bioethanol and biodiesel in coastal Kenya collided with concerns about land transformation and access, livelihoods and identities, and the distribution of benefits and burdens. By examining the adaptive strategies and shifting composition of pro- and anti-biofuels coalitions and campaigns in and beyond the delta, the chapter reveals how political economy characteristics of development initiatives shape mobilization efforts. The chapter exposes that biofuels debates bring together local social histories and economies, national interests, transnational activists, foreign investors, and international markets. As a result, it argues, a blended political economy and contentious politics analysis is needed to understand resistance to agriculturally based renewable energy projects.

Keywords:   Kenya, Tana delta, biofuels, livelihoods, identity politics, coalitions, transnational activists

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