2017 Top 25
Environmental Protection Agency
January 1, 2017

The EPA’s Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center has strengthened public engagement on environmental issues by successfully institutionalizing the promotion and provision of high quality, easily accessible mediation and facilitation services. Through these services, the Center builds relationships among regulators, communities, and industry to achieve important environmental and social outcomes. Since 2009, the Center has completed an average of 85 environmental collaboration and conflict resolution cases per year. The vast majority of participants in the Center’s agreement-seeking processes say that they would recommend the process to others. The innovations pioneered by the Center include the nation’s first federal contract vehicle to provide access to highly qualified facilitators, mediators, and trainers. The Center developed landmark training in negotiation, dispute resolution, and public participation which is now offered to all of EPA’s staff and management nationwide. Other federal agencies, including the Department of Interior and the Army Corps of Engineers have emulated the Center’s approach and expanded the use of alternative dispute resolution and related services across the entire Federal government. This approach has resulted in improved environmental and social outcomes for otherwise intractable disputes. For example, in 2015 and 2016, the Center supported a facilitated public discussion in Minden, Louisiana, that identified alternative methods to destroy 80,000 pounds of munitions per day, other than the open burning method that was initially agreed to by the state and federal governments but opposed by the local community.

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