John S. McCain III
National Center for Environmental Conflict Resolution
OMB and CEQ Joint Memoranda on ECR
On November 28, 2005, Joshua Bolten, director of the Office of Management and Budget
(OMB), and James Connaughton, chairman of the President's Council on Environmental
Quality (CEQ), issued a policy memorandum on environmental conflict resolution (ECR).
This joint policy statement directs agencies to increase the effective use of ECR
and their institutional capacity for collaborative problem solving.
The statement includes a definition of ECR and sets forth "Basic Principles for
Agency Engagement in Environmental Conflict Resolution and Collaborative Problem
Solving." It also includes a compilation of mechanisms and strategies that may be
used to achieve the stated policy objectives.
This policy direction developed from a request in August 2003 by Chairman Connaughton
to the National Center to work with senior staff of key federal departments and agencies
to develop basic ECR principles and recommended guidance on ECR. Over the next two
years, the National Center worked collaboratively with senior staff from the Departments
of Agriculture, Army, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice,
Navy, Transportation, the Office of Management and Budget, the Environmental Protection
Agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Council on Environmental
Quality to develop basic principles and draft guidance. In November 2005, the "Memorandum
on Environmental Conflict Resolution" was signed by Director Bolten and Chairman
The memorandum requires annual reporting by departments and agencies to OMB and
CEQ on progress made each year, periodic leadership meetings, and quarterly interdepartmental
senior staff meetings to be facilitated by the National Center.
In early September 2012, OMB and CEQ issued a Joint Memorandum on Environmental
Collaboration and Conflict Resolution. The memorandum expands and builds on the
November 28, 2005, Memorandum on Environmental Conflict Resolution, by directing
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.
Background for ECR Policy Memorandum
A briefing report was prepared for the June 2004 Federal Departmental Leadership
meeting on Environmental Conflict Resolution. This report, revised and updated in
May 2005, includes a compendium of cases and projects provided by multiple federal
agencies and descriptions of programs that support ECR and collaborative problem
solving. Appendices to this report provide further documentation and authorities
supporting the use of ECR.
In preparation for the development of the ECR Policy Memorandum, a federal department
survey was conducted. The findings from this survey are reported here.
ECR Survey Findings
In 1998, Congress created the National Center
as part of the Udall Foundation to provide assessment, mediation, or other related
services in connection with a dispute or conflict related to environmental, natural
resources, or public lands issues involving the federal government. Public Law 105-106
(Feb. 11 1998), the legislation creating the National Center, can be found
on Environmental Collaboration and Conflict Resolution
on Environmental Conflict Resolution