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<xTITLE>Managing Scientific and Technical Information In Environmental Cases: Principles and Practices for Mediators and Facilitators</xTITLE>

Managing Scientific and Technical Information In Environmental Cases: Principles and Practices for Mediators and Facilitators

by Peter Adler, Robert Barrett, Juliana Birkhoff, Connie Ozawa, Emily Rudin

Click here to read full report in PDF format


This effort represents ideas gathered from more than a hundred individuals as well as a review of some, though certainly not all, of the relevant literature. The document is an initial attempt to distill and disseminate those key principles and practices that are relevant to managing scientific and technical information in environmental conflicts. Through this project, we hope to advance both the practice and theory of environmental mediation and to launch further thinking and discussion on the issues raised.

The information age has increased the pace of information development, dissemination, and application. As more scientific information enters the public domain, it is increasingly important to use science wisely and to understand its interactions with other modes of thought and inquiry. We hope this source book will be helpful to that end.

Readers are encouraged to freely use and disseminate this document but are asked to credit the authors and the sponsors of this project -- RESOLVE, Inc.; the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (USIECR); and the Western Justice Center Foundation.

Based in Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon, the nonprofit RESOLVE, Inc.,, specializes in environmental dispute resolution, environmental mediation, consensus building, facilitation, and policy dialogue. RESOLVE is a leader in mediating solutions to controversial problems and broadening the techniques for consensus building on public policy issues. RESOLVE is dedicated to improving dialogue and negotiation between parties to solve complex public policy issues and to advancing both research and practice in the dispute resolution field. RESOLVE works in the U.S. and abroad. 1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 275, Washington, D.C. 20037. Phone: (202) 965-6390; fax: (202) 338-1264.

Based in Tucson, Arizona, the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution,, assists parties across the country in resolving environmental conflicts that involve federal agencies or interests. Operating under the aegis of the Morris K. Udall Foundation, the Institute offers expertise, guidance, and training in environmental conflict assessment, facilitation, and mediation. The Institute maintains a network of programs and practitioners around the country who can be called on to assist in environmental conflict resolution. 110 South Church Avenue, Suite 3350, Tucson, Arizona 85701. Phone: (520) 670-5299; fax: (520) 670-5530.

The mission of the nonprofit Western Justice Center Foundation,, is to create and enhance models for resolving conflict; improve the quality of justice and appropriate uses of the legal system; create knowledge through research and evaluation; and instill conflict resolution skills in children. The Western Justice Center conducts programs in California, across the nation, and abroad, all in collaboration with carefully selected partner groups. 85 South Grand Avenue, Pasadena, California 91105. Phone: (626) 584-7494; fax: (626) 568-8223.

This document is located on the Web sites of these three organizations and also of the Association for Conflict Resolution and Policy Consensus Initiative. Other organizations and agencies are encouraged to post it on their Web sites and to disseminate it as they wish.

Click here to read full report in PDF format on the web site. Readers are also encouraged to contact any members of the working group to contribute further thoughts and comments.

The authors intend for this document to be accessed in any ways that readers find most valuable. Some might prefer to read it from beginning to end as a narrative. Alternatively, others will use it as a reference manual, focusing on portions that they find relevant to a past or present challenge. The organization of the document is intended to accommodate either objective.

After this preface, the paper begins by presenting the central challenges in dealing with science and technical information in environmental cases. Then it presents the specific challenges that stakeholders and mediators identified in the literature and focus groups. The fourth section outlines some key ideas and practice principles underlying the more specific guidelines in the fifth section. The sixth section consists of "how to's" and "to do's" from experienced environmental and public policy mediators. The endnotes include information on the origins of this project. Appendices include information on how to contact the working group; a list of participants and contributors, for whose encouragement, expertise and insights the authors are most grateful, and selected readings.


Peter Adler directs ACCORD3.0, a group of independent consultants specializing in foresight, fact-finding and conseneus building. He is the former President and CEO of The Keystone Center and has held executive positions with the Hawaii Supreme Court, the Hawaii Justice Foundation, and Neighborhood Justice Center of Honolulu. Peter can also be reached at 808-888-0215 (landline).  Peter is also the author of Eye of the Storm Leadership.

Robert Barrett

Bob Barrett is a mediator, facilitator, trainer, and consultant with more than seventeen years experience in the dispute resolution field. His practice focuses particularly on environmental and public disputes and assisting public agencies to design and evaluate collaborative problem-solving programs.

Bob Barrett was the founding president of the California Dispute Resolution Council in 1994 and served on its board until 1999. In 1997 he was asked to assume the presidency of CDRI, helping to develop its agenda of program and research activities and to attract grant and other funding; he became its part-time executive director on March 1, 2000.

From 1992 until 2000, Bob was a member of the Board of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR); he received its Distinguished Service award in 1995. He has written many articles about dispute resolution and has been an adjunct professor at Stanford University, the University of California at Santa Cruz Extension, and Pepperdine University. Bob was an elected trustee of the Las Lomitas Elementary School District from 1988 until 1996.

Educated at Stanford University and the law school of the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall), Bob Barrett began his career as a law clerk for a federal judge in New York City and also practiced environmental law in New York and San Francisco.

Juliana Birkhoff

Juliana E. Birkhoff is an experienced mediator, facilitator, trainer, and conflict resolution scholar. She focuses her practice on complex scientific and technical problems about water quality and quantity, watershed planning and restoration, land use and development, pesticides and chemicals policies and community right to know issues, and other natural resources and public health issues.

She has conducted extensive research on collaboration and consensus building. Her previous research include best practices for integrating complex scientific and technical information into collaborative processes, how to integrate scientific and community knowledge in consensus-building, and several evaluations of consensus building processes.

Connie Ozawa, Ph.D
Professor of Urban Studies and Planning

B.A. 1976 (environmental studies) University of California, Berkeley; M.A. 1978 (geography) University of Hawaii; Ph.D. 1988 (urban planning) Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Ozawa teaches courses on environmental policy and management, planning theory and practice, and negotiation and dispute resolution. Her research interests focus on the use of scientific and technical information in public decision making, the role of the professional, and public participation methods. She is currently conducting evaluations of a regional planmaking process and a state initiated effort to increase interagency coordination of environmental reviews. Dr. Ozawa is author of Recasting Science: Consensus-Based Procedures in Public Policy Making (Westview, 1991) and several journal articles.

Emily Rudin