Summary of "Mediating Environmental Conflicts"

Summary of

Mediating Environmental Conflicts

By J. Walton Blackburn and Willa Marie Bruce

Summary written by Conflict Research Consortium Staff

Citation: Mediating Environmental Conflicts. J. Walton Blackburn and Willa Marie Bruce, eds. Westport, Connecticut: Quorum Books, 1995, 309 pp.

Mediating Environmental Conflicts discusses both the theory and practice of environmental mediation. The collected essays explore the nature of environmental conflict, and examine various approaches to its mediation.

Mediating Environmental Conflicts will be of interest to those who seek a better understanding of environmental conflicts, and of the use of mediation in resolving such conflicts. This work is divided into eighteen chapters, with bibliography and index. Each chapter is an independent article. Chapter One, written by the editors, describes environmental conflict and mediation, and introduces the subsequent chapters.

In Chapter Two Christine Reed argues that the new environmental agenda calls for new approaches to environmental conflict. Such approaches should aim at creating sustainable communities. She argues that environmental mediation is one promising approach.

Chapters Three and Four focus on the theory of mediation. Rosemary O'Leary offer an critical overview of research on environmental mediation. She particularly emphasizes the problems of knowledge development in environmental mediation. Peter Maida explores environmental mediation from the perspective of law and economics. He argues that these perspectives provide better insight into the environmental mediation process.

Chapters Five and Six discuss training mediators. John Allen describes how to train environmental mediators to take a community-based approach. He also discuses issues involved in designing and managing community-based mediation efforts. James Dworkin and G. Logan Jordan present a teaching case, with instructions on its use. Their case raises real world issues in the context of a dispute over an electric utility and air pollution standards.

Returning to the theme of community-based mediation, Kenneth Klase discusses the special issues which arise in environmental mediation in small communities. Guy and Heidi Burgess follow with a discussion of environmental conflicts which are not amenable to mediation. They offer a procedure by which to identify currently unmediable environmental conflicts, and describe a strategy of constructive confrontation. Constructive confrontation may be used to turn an unmediable conflict into a conflict suitable for mediation.

Chapters Nine, Ten and Eleven follow the theme of citizen participation in environmental mediation. Bruce Clary and Regan Hornney discuss the role of the public in citing nuclear waste facilities, and argue that the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) format is a useful way of promoting citizen input. James Richardson explores the importance of negotiating community consensus in the early stages of preparing an environmental impact statement. He draws on a case study of a proposed copper mine outside Prescott, Arizona. Sondra Bogdonoff examines the use of negotiated rule-making in the development of Maine's transportation policy.

Chapter Twelve, by William and John Stephens and Frank Dukes discusses ethical issues in environmental conflicts. They argue that the environment itself is due ethical consideration, and discuss who is best situated to represent the environment. Carolyn Blackford and Hirini Matunga discuss issues of cultural difference in environmental mediation, using the example of the Maori of New Zealand.

Chapters Fourteen through Seventeen examine cases. Clare Ryan discuses the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) use of regulatory negotiation. She draws on three case studies to evaluate the successes and failures of regulatory negotiation. In Chapter Sixteen, J. Lynn Wood and Mary Guy suggest methods for building political consensus on potentially environmentally damaging initiatives. Dennis Baird, Ralph Maughan and Douglas Nilson draw conclusions from the unsuccessful mediation of the Idaho Wilderness controversy. In Chapter Seventeen Mollie Mangerich and Larry Luton asses the use of ADR via the case of the Inland Northwest Field Burning Summit.

In conclusion, Blackburn describes the issues and challenges presently facing research in environmental mediation, and suggests useful approaches for the future.

Mediating Environmental Conflicts provides an accessible introduction to contemporary issues and approaches in environmental mediation.