Definition & Principles
Environmental Conflict Resolution (ECR) is defined as third-party assisted conflict resolution and collaborative problem solving in
the context of environmental, public lands, or natural resources issues or conflicts, including matters related to energy,
transportation, and land use. The term "ECR" encompasses a range of assisted negotiation processes and applications. These processes
directly engage affected interests and agency decision makers in conflict resolution and collaborative problem solving. Multi-issue,
multi-party environmental disputes or controversies often take place in high conflict and low trust settings, where the assistance
of impartial facilitators or mediators can be instrumental to reaching agreement and resolution. Such disputes range broadly from
administrative adjudicatory disputes, to civil judicial disputes, policy/rule disputes, intra- and interagency disputes, as well as
disputes with non-federal persons/entities. ECR processes can be applied during a policy development or planning process, or in the
context of rulemaking, administrative decision making, enforcement, or litigation and can include conflicts between federal, state,
local, tribal, public interest organizations, citizens groups and business and industry where a federal agency has ultimate
responsibility for decision-making.
Confirm willingness and availability of appropriate agency leadership and staff at all levels to commit to principles of engagement;
ensure commitment to participate in good faith with open mindset to new perspectives.
Balanced, Voluntary Representation
Ensure balanced inclusion of affected/concerned interests; all parties should be willing and able to participate and select their
Engage with all participants in developing and governing process; including choice of consensus-based decision rules; seek
assistance as needed from impartial facilitator/mediator selected by and accountable to all parties.
Seek agreement on how to share, test and apply relevant information (scientific, cultural, technical, etc.) among participants;
ensure relevant information is accessible and understandable by all participants.
Participate in the process directly, fully, and in good faith; be accountable to all participants, as well as agency representatives
and the public.
Ensure all participants and public are fully informed in a timely manner of the purpose and objectives of process; communicate
agency authorities, requirements and constraints; uphold confidentiality rules and agreements as required for particular proceedings.
Ensure timely decisions and outcomes.
Ensure decisions are implementable consistent with federal law and policy; parties should commit to identify roles and
responsibilities necessary to implement agreement; parties should agree in advance on the consequences of a party being unable to
provide necessary resources or implement agreement; ensure parties will take steps to implement and obtain resources necessary to