The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has long used environmental collaboration and conflict resolution services to support both its internal functions and external regulatory, enforcement, and voluntary programs. ECCR services such as facilitation and mediation help EPA and its stakeholders exchange ideas and information, identify areas of concern and common interest, develop recommendations, prevent and overcome disputes, and reach agreements. Interest in these services has increased over several decades with growing recognition of the value these services provide. Since 1999, EPA’s Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center has played a leadership role in providing ECCR services to the entire agency. In addition to CPRC’s own ECCR work, the Center relies on contractor support to provide an efficient mechanism for EPA headquarters, regional, and field offices to access expert ECCR services and for CPRC to meet EPA’s growing demand for support.
Under contract to CPRC, ERG provides expert ECCR services to EPA, including situation assessments, agreement-seeking processes, consultation and information exchange, workplace dispute prevention and resolution, strategic planning, and organizational development. To fulfill this role, we built and successfully maintain and manage a large and diverse roster of highly qualified service providers, including many of the most experienced ECCR professionals in the nation, who collectively are strongly matched to the types of ECCR needs that EPA anticipates.
Each year, ERG responds to approximately 100 requests for ECCR services, ranging from urgent support for emergency situations to multi-year projects that address complex regional issues involving a wide variety of interested parties. In each case, we identify, select, and manage the work of ECCR professionals and provide related services as needed, including technical and scientific assistance, training, outreach and communications, and event logistics. To handle the very large volume of ECCR support that EPA requires, ERG has developed numerous bespoke systems, resources, and best practices to help ensure consistency, quality, and efficiency across the hundreds of projects under the contract.