The author is an attorney in the Washington, D.C., area and works as a mediator and arbitrator. His practice covers labor, commercial and environmental disputes. He is a founder of Environmental Common Sense, a group of ADR professionals who focus on resolution of environmental disputes using mediation, arbitration and fact-finding.
The use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques-negotiation, mediation, negotiated rule-making, factfinding and arbitration-in the environmental field is a relatively new phenomenon and does not yet enjoy the status of an ADR field in its own right. By some estimates, the first regular use of these techniques in the environmental field dates from as recently as the 1970s.l And while ADR in environmental disputes has been the subject of numerous books and articles in periodical literature,Z there are few, if any, publications devoted exclusively to ADR/ environmental issues. This circumstance stands in contrast to ADR in the labor and commercial fields, where commercial reporting services regularly compile detailed information about neutrals, arbitration awards, negotiated settlements and other relevant background facts which lends predictability and credibility to ADR in these respective fields. The commercial reporting services help to focus and define issues appropriate for ADR; the absence of similar services focusing on environmental ADR may have slowed its growth because of a lack of generally available knowledge and experience with ADR techniques in such disputes.