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Environmental Review Toolkit

Collaborative Problem Solving: Better and Streamlined Outcomes for All

Guidance on Managing Conflict and Resolving Disputes between State and Federal Agencies During the Transportation Project Development and Environmental Review Process

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1. Introduction

1.1 Environmental Streamlining
1.2 National Dispute Resolution System

2. Purpose and Applicability of the Guidance

2.1 Applicability
2.2 Purpose
2.3 Guidance, Not Prescription
2.4 Guiding Principles

3. Streamlining for Effective Decision Making and Conflict Management Through Early Involvement and Coordination

3.1 Expectations
3.2 NEPA as a Decision Making Tool
3.3 Interagency Goals and Commitments to Advance the Principles of Streamlining
3.4 Regional and State Strategies
3.5 Benefits of Early Involvement and Coordination of Reviews
3.6 Making it Happen

4. Disputes that Arise During NEPA Reviews of Transportation Projects

4.1 Issues that Can Lead to Disputes in the NEPA Process
4.2 The Nature of these Disputes

5. Approaches to Managing Conflict and Resolving Disputes at the Project Level

5.1 The Nature of Conflict
5.2 Dispute Resolution Framework
5.3 Unassisted Problem Solving
5.4 Assisted Problem Solving
5.5 Upward Referral
5.6 Training in Problem Solving and Dispute Resolution

Figure 1. Dispute Resolution Framework
Figure 2. Project-Level Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution Checklist
Figure 3. Effective Agency Dispute Resolution-Recommended Steps

Appendix A – U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution
Appendix B – Guidance Development and Review Process
Appendix C – Results of Agency Stakeholder Interviews
Appendix D – Environmental Streamlining National MOU
Appendix E – Example Guiding Principles for Problem Solving and Dispute Resolution
Appendix F – Example Discussion Ground Rules
Appendix G – Maryland Conflict Resolution Hierarchy
Appendix H – Example Executive Panel Structure for Upward Referral of Disputes
Appendix I – Joint Briefing Paper Template
Appendix J – Bibliography of Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution Literature
Appendix K – Federal Agency Roles and Responsibilities Under NEPA and Environmental Streamlining

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