Federal agencies have yet again been directed to use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) techniques to resolve disputes. This time the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality have directed relevant departments and agencies to
“increase the appropriate and effective use of third-party assisted environmental collaboration as well as environmental conflict resolution to resolve problems and conflicts that arise in the context of environmental, public lands, or natural resources issues, including matters related to energy, transportation, and water and land management. See Memorandum on Environmental Conflict Resolution.
Of course this is not the first time the White House has encouraged the use of ADR techniques in the federal government. For example, in 1998 President Clinton ordered agencies and departments to take steps to promote greater use of ADR techniques to resolve disputes and to negotiate regulations See Memorandum for Heads of Executive Department and Agencies
The memo sets out the use of ADR techniques to address environmental matters and directs federal agencies to use neutral facilitation to settle conflicts in issues related to energy, transportation and water and land management issues.
The memo applies to all executive branch agencies with regard to each agency’s enabling legislation, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other laws aimed at managing and conserving the environment, natural resources and public lands. The complete memo is here.
Information about other relevant federal environmental ADR resources can be found at the Department of Justice web site the Department of Interior Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution web site and the EPA Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center site.