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

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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.


Connie Ozawa

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… MORE >


Peter Adler

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… MORE >


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… MORE >

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