Friday, November 2, 2012

Federal Agencies Directed to Use Conflict Resolution to Resolve Environmental Issues

Federal agencies have been directed yet again 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 
This is not the first time the White House has encouraged federal agencies to use ADR techniques. 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 Departments and Agencies
The latest memorandum requires that agencies use ADR techniques when appropriate to develop regulations and policy, resolve land management disputes and resolve enforcement issues related to water and land management, energy and transportation issues.
The memo applies to the executive branch agencies’ 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 some of the relevant federal environmental ADR resources can be found at the Department of Justice website the EPA Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center website and the Department of Interior Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution website.

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