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<xTITLE>Summary Of State Alternative Environmental Dispute Resolution Institutions </xTITLE>

Summary Of State Alternative Environmental Dispute Resolution Institutions

by Mandi Herring

The work was funded by the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium.

The following summary of state alternative environmental dispute resolution institutions was done by Mandi Herring under the advisement of Angela Halfacre, Ph.D., of the University of Charleston, with the cooperation of Jeanne Hall, J.D., of the South Carolina Council for Conflict Resolution and James B. Atkins, Ph.D, Commissioner, South Carolina Public Service Commission, formerly with the University of South Carolina. The work was funded by the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium.


Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM)

  • Uses an ombuds office to facilitate environmental compliance among small businesses to avoid disputes.
  • Staff trained in negotiation skills.

State Agency ADR Task Force

  • Governor established an ADR force to aid state agencies, which include ADEM in working with ADR strategies.

Center for Dispute Resolution

  • Goal is to aid state agencies in dealing with and employing ADR

Contact Information:
Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM)
P.O. Box 301463
Montgomery, AL 36130-1463
(334) 271-7855
(334) 271-7950 fax


Agencies employ informal Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) methods

Division of Governmental Coordination

  • EDR is informal, focuses on the coastal zone area and is usually consensus building
  • Resolves conflicts between coastal districts, public, other agencies and anyone wanting to alter the coastal area

Department of Environmental Conservation

  • Uses mediation to resolve water and air issues
  • Available to public, individuals, businesses, industries, municipalities
  • Consensus building is a primary goal

Department of Natural Resources

  • Holds roundtable meetings involving stakeholders to resolve conflicts

Department of Fish and Game

  • Uses EDR often to avoid conflicts regarding permitting system

Contact Information:
Alaska Division of Governmental Coordination
P.O. Box 110030
Juneau, AK 99811-0030
(907) 465-8794
(907) 465-3075 fax


Department of Environmental Quality

  • Formal EDR efforts since 1998, informal EDR program for several years prior.
  • Employ EDR regarding Underground Storage Tank (UST) redemption and the responsible parties.
  • EDR used more to void going through the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality than for litigation purposes.

Udall Center of Studies in Public Policy

  • Environmental Conflict Resolution (ECR) Program deals with cases within the state of Arizona as well as neighboring areas.
  • Center was established under federal mandate specifically for environmental and Native American issues.

Contact Information:
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
3033 N. Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85018
(602) 207-4251
(602) 207-4346 fax


No formal EDR agency/program has been established; nonetheless EDR is widely used

California Center for Public Dispute Resolution

  • Combines efforts with California State University-Sacramento and the McGeorge School of Law when dealing with EDR
  • Offers service to anyone interested universities, nonprofit organizations, state and private agencies.
  • The Center addresses permitting and siting issues, litigation, public interest issues, policy implementation issues to name a few.
  • Services provided include mediation, facilitation, EDR training and research.
  • Case examples include the Sacramento Area Water forum Project regarding the future water use through 2030. CALFED Bay-Delta Program is another program involving state and federal agencies, two thousand plus stakeholders and the public in an ecosystem restoration project. The Growth Management Consensus Project addressed land conservation and reducing the quantity of single occupancy automobiles.

Contact Information:
California Center for Public Dispute Resolution
1303 J Street, Suite 250
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-2079
(916) 445-2087 fax


Department of Environmental Protection

  • EDR program was established in 1990.
  • Mediation is used in enforcement cases and permitting.
  • Seventy percent of the cases incorporating mediation have been resolved.

Florida Conflict Resolution Consortium (FCRC)

  • Nonstate agency successful in using ADR in land use and in environmental disputes.

Contact Information:
Florida Conflict Resolution Consortium
Florida State University
2031 East Paul Dirac Dr.
Shaw Bldg., Suite 132
Tallahassee, FL 32310-4161
(850) 644-6320
(850) 644-496 fax


Institute of Community and Area Development (ICAD)

  • Public entity associated with the University of Georgia.
  • Involves communities, local and state government in solving environmental management

Carl Vincent institute of Government (CVIG)

  • Experienced in mediation for a twenty-five years.
  • Working to educate public officials in mediation to employ EDR.

Contact Information:
Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA 30332-0155
(404) 894-9841
(404) 894-1628 fax


Informal EDR

Illinois EPA

  • Uses EDR to include the public in decisions regarding the environment.
  • EDR has been applied to the hazardous waste program and permitting system within the state.

Contact Information:
Illinois EPA
Mail Code 5
1021 N. Grand Ave
P.O. Box 19276
Springfield, IL 62794-9276
(217) 785-3819
(217) 785-7725 fax


Natural Resources Commission

  • State agencies were granted the option to resolve disputes using mediation techniques by the state legislature.
  • Mediation has been used to resolve disputes regarding timber companies, riparian lake areas, floodways and construction, and surface coal mining.

Indiana Conflict Resolution Institute

  • Serves as an information source for conflict resolution programs including evaluating existing programs, being involved with conflict resolution studies in universities, and acting as an information clearinghouse.

Contact Information:
Indiana Conflict Resolution Institute School of Public and Environmental Affairs
1315 E. 10th St., Room 322
Bloomington, IN 47405
(812) 855-1618
(812) 856-6031 fax

Division of Hearings
Natural Resources Commission
Indiana Government Center South
402 W. Washington St, Room W 272
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 2324699
(317) 233-2977 fax


Formal environmental program was established in 1994 and endorsed by the governor in 1995. The regulated community and supporters of the environment accept EDR.

Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet

  • The mediation program was in the Office of administrative Hearings and considered to be non-binding.
  • The program was initially meant to alleviate the number of cases in the OAH.
  • Procedure: Mediations are scheduled for three-hour conferences although the average lasts for six hours. Eighty percent of the 200 mediated disputes have been reached resolution.

Department of Fish an Wildlife Resources

  • Informal mediation is used and involves the public in wildlife management issues that may be controversial.
  • This form of EDR has been used to solve mussel harvesting conflict and a case involving a hunting club's territory.
  • The Department supports EDR because of equal party input and increased success in resolving a conflict.

Contact Information:
Office of Administrative Hearings
Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet
35 Fountain Pl.
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 5647312
(502) 564-4973 fax


Court ADR Service (CADRES)

  • A roster of twenty-eight mediators has been chosen to specifically handle land use and environmental cases.
  • Mediation fees are covered by the state agency under the official meditation program.
  • Cases usually involve an individual that is being regulated by the government regarding the specific use of their land. If the landowner is objecting to the regulation he/she must pay the mediation fee.
  • Parties involved in an environmental enforcement conflict may also request mediation.

Contact Information:
Court ADR Service
RR #1, Box 310
West Bath, ME 04530
(207) 442-0227
(207) 442-0228 fax


Office of Fair Practices and Environmental Justice (OFPEJ)

  • EDR is applied by need per case regarding environmental justice.
  • OFPEJ is working to formalize use of EDR
  • The Department of the Environment is requesting grant money from the EPA to appropriately train state agencies in EDR and expand its use.

Contact Information:
Office of Fair Practices and Environmental Justice
Maryland Department of the Environmental
2500 Broening Highway
Baltimore, MD 21224
(410) 631-3964
(410) 631-4496 fax


Massachusetts Office of Dispute Resolution (MODR)

  • Offers a formal ADR program including mediation and charges for its services including premeditation work and the cost of a mediator.
  • EDR falls under the Government Program in which there is a panel of fourteen "private sector neutrals."
  • MODR addresses issues involving multiple parties, state and local agencies, environmental organizations, and the public among others.
  • Mediators are carefully selected based on performance and qualification standards.
  • MODR has presided over two hundred plus environmental conflicts. Seventy percent of those cases have been settled.
  • Environmental disputes include hazardous waste, wetlands, facility-sitings, and land use issues.
  • MODR concentrates on educating mediators and training them to handle disputes in the most effective and knowledgeable manner.

Contact Information:
Massachusetts Office of Dispute Resolution
100 Cambridge St., Room 1005
Boston, MA 02202
(617) 727-2224 ext. 313
(617) 727-6495 fax


Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

  • EDR program deal with land use issues as well as air, water and waste disputes.

Contact Information:
Office of Administrative Hearings
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 30473
Lansing, MI 48909-7973
(517) 335-4226
(517) 335-5420 fax


Department of Natural Resources

  • Practices an informal EDR program
  • Approximately eighty five percent of EDR program involves sending letters to violators addressing the violation and the opportunity for response.
  • Employees working with EDR are trained and are continuously involved with a case from beginning to end.
  • Final negotiations are verbal and are not incorporated into a contract.

Contact Information:
Water Pollution Control Program
Division of Environmental Quality
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 176
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176
(575) 751-1404
(575) 751-9396 fax


Nebraska Office of Dispute Resolution (NODR)

  • Informal EDR program that works with agencies including the Department of Environmental Quality.
  • Underground storage tanks and water resources are issues involved with EDR.

Contact Information:
Nebraska Office of Dispute Resolution
P.O. Box 98910
Lincoln, NE 68509-8910
(402) 427-3148
(402) 471-2197 fax

New Jersey

Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR)

  • Maintains an office within the state agency, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), to handle environmental disputes between the agency and regulated parties.
  • The ODR within the DEP must report to the commissioner of the DEP and is responsible for communicating with various parties, lawyers, agency group, etc. to ensure awareness of the program.
  • Anyone involved in the dispute may request mediation or a judge may refer mediation cases.
  • Everyone involved in the dispute must agree on mediation for the process to continue.
  • The state pays the fees for mediation.

Contact Information:
Office of Dispute Resolution
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402
(609) 292-1997
(609) 984-3962 fax

New York

Office of Hearings and Mediation Services (OHMS)

  • Office of Hearings and Mediation Services is a neutral organization within the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that serves other state agencies as well.
  • Mediation is the main form of EDR practiced.
  • Employees within DEC refer cases to mediation and there are case requirements that must be met to qualify for mediation.
  • Cases usually result when DEC serves a party with a complaint.
  • Multiple parties may be involved in the mediation process as well as extremely large parties.
  • Lawyers are typically present involved parties.
  • The resolution rate is eighty five percent.

Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

  • Participates in informal EDR as well.
  • Staff members are trained in EDR procedures.

Contact Information:
Office of Hearing and Mediation Services
New York Department of Environmental Conservation
50 Wolf Rd., Room 423
Albany, NY 12233-1550
(518) 457-3468
(518) 485-7714 fax

North Carolina

Community Dispute Resolution Programs

  • Mediation and facilitation cases include facility siting, land use, and community disputes.
  • Players include residents, businesses, neighborhoods, civic organizations, local and county governments.

Contact Information:
Office of Administrative Hearings
P.O. Drawer 27447
Raleigh, NC 27611-7447
(919) 733-3994
(919) 733-3407 fax

Natural Resources Leadership Institute
North Carolina State University
Box 8109
Raleigh, NC 27695
(919) 515-1824


  • Ohio EPA and the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management (CDRCM)
  • Environmental dispute issues are referred to the CDRCM
  • Mediator is chosen by the CDRCM to work with the Ohio EPA and the regulated party.
  • Pilot Project was launched to illustrate the value of mediation. Agency and regulated party participate in one-day meditation program with the final terms to be considered as an enforcement action. Five disputes went through this program concluding mediation a successful dispute resolution program.
  • Formal and informal facilitation has also been practiced.

Contact Information:
Craig Butler, Director's Office
Mediation Pilot Project, hazardous Waste Division
(614) 644-2782


Formal EDR Program

Oklahoma Agriculture Mediation Program (OAMP)

  • Handles environmental disputes that are some how associated with agriculture.
  • Local, state and federal agencies use OAMP. Procedures for mediation are decided by the agency that is utilizing OAMP services and vary by case. Procedures may be formal or informal.
  • OAMP is working to expand services to include hazardous waste and Superfund disputes.

Contact Information:
Oklahoma Administrative Office of the Courts, ADR System
1915 N. Stiles, Suite 305
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405) 521-2450
(405) 521-6518 fax


Formal EDR Program

Dispute Resolution Commission (DRC)

  • Overseen by a steering committee appointed by the governor
  • Conflict prevention is the main goal of the DRC.
  • DRC works within an agency to encourage collaboration

Land Conservation and Development Program (LCDP)

  • The program allocates monies for mediators to be used in local and state issues, especially planning issues.
  • LCDP is also responsible for training personnel to handle EDR and encourage resolution techniques within the state.
  • LCDP established a grant program that funds EDR services within communities.

Contact Information:
Department of Natural Resources
1175 Court Street, NE
Salem, OR 97310
(503) 373-0050
(503) 378-5518 fax


Formal environmental ADR program consisting of facilitation and mediation

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

  • Contractors are occasionally used if disputing parties are worried about neutrality or if the appropriate expertise is not available with DEP.
  • Employ facilitation techniques for small and large groups to learn to work together.
  • Employ mediation techniques regarding a specific conflict in order to reach resolution.

Contact Information:
Department of Environmental Protection
400 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17105
(717) 783-5787
(717) 787-2938 fax

Rhode Island

Pilot program for EDR

Department of Environmental Management (DEM)

  • EDR project was started internally as a way to informally resolve a wetlands and sewage disposal conflict.
  • Mediator was an attorney within DEM
  • Participants were allowed to have attorneys present if desired however DEM chose not to have legal council present in hopes to keep the proceedings informal.
  • The earlier the dispute was addressed the better the cooperation between parties.
  • The earlier the dispute was addressed the less need there was for attorneys.

Contact Information:
Administrative Adjudication Division
Rhode island Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., 3rd Floor
Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-1357
(401) 222-1398 fax


Formal environmental mediation program Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission (TNRCC)

  • Primary focus is on the permitting system for water, air, and landfills.
  • Hearings are usually called for when a permit is contested. This is when TNRCC contacts involved parties offering mediation services instead of scheduling a hearing.
  • Program began small and as support and expertise grew so did the number and complexity of cases.
  • Case examples include enforcement issues, Superfund sites, and land use issues.

Contact Information:
Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission (TNRCC)
P.O. Box 13087
Austin, TX 78771
(512) 239-4010
(512) 239-4015 fax


EDR programs are usually ad hoc

  • Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia is the most involved organization in EDR in the state.

Contact Information:
Institute for Environmental Negotiation
University of Virginia
164 Rugby Rd
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(804) 924-1970
(804) 924-0231 fax


Formal EDR practices
National Institute for Dispute Resolution

  • Provides services to state agencies
  • Aided in establishing EDR within agencies

State agencies employ EDR practices in the following examples

  • Tribal-state natural resource agreements
  • Agricultural disputes
  • Growth management

Contact Information:
Governor's Executive Policy Office
100 Insurance Bldg.
P.O. Box 43113
Olympia, WA 98504-3113
(360) 902-0640
(360) 586-8380 fax

Washington D.C.

Environmental Health Administration (EHA)

  • No formal EDR program established although many informal procedures occur.
  • EHA usually relies on negotiation practices to correct environmental problems.
  • Attorneys and EHA staff are trained in environmental negotiation.

Contact Information:
Environmental Health Administration
2100 Martin Luther King SE, Room 203
Washington, DC 20020
(202) 645-6601


Informal EDR practices

Waste Facility Siting Board

  • Employs negotiation, mediation and arbitration regarding waste facility siting.
  • Communities have sixty days chose negotiation after they receive notification of a waste facility siting.
  • A committee is formed to represent the community. The committee is comprised of various community members.
  • The committee negotiates with the site developer to reach a resolution regarding facility siting.

Contact Information:
Waste Facility Siting Board
201 W. Washington Ave
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 267-7854
(608) 267-3770 fax