Date of Award
Master of Community Planning
Dennis C. Muniak
The environmental movement is a product of the Seventies. With the passage of t he National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, the impetus was provided for a decade of progress in the environmental field. The movement brought on a wave of consciousness and increased awareness of our environment. It also generated a lot of controversy and conflict between the various parties involved.
Now, as we enter the Eighties the environmental movement is in trouble as a result of the conflict. Traditionally there have been three primary groups in conflict over environmental issues - the environmentalists private industry-developer, and government. Conflicting goals, competing interest, and divergent ideologies are a few fundament al reasons for their disputes. As citizens became increasingly aware of environmental issues and concerns and their opportunities to become actively involved in the decision-making process grew, the frequency of disputes followed suit.
The present U.S. environmental protection system is largely to blame. It is based on a reactionary decision-making process established on legislation and case law. This system has created a power situation between the parties, thus fostering the conflict. Litigation has been the method for conflict resolution and decision-making. This has proven to be an undesirable method since it is so costly. With the litigation proliferation that has recently occurred, the courts have become bogged down and the system is faltering. Consequently the environment is the first to suffer in this situation, especially in light of the current economic state.
Obviously the system is not functioning properly and new conflict resolution and decision-making procedures are needed. Environmental mediation is the latest method to emerge on the dispute management scene. It involves applying labormanagement mediation techniques to environmental disputes. In its limited application environmental mediation has been very successful, offering a possible alternative to litigation. The various aspects of environmental mediation will be examined and the possibilities of using it to develop a new environmental protection and management system will be explored. The thesis of this paper is that the disputing parties are responsible for maintaining a healthy environment and must therefore, resolve their conflicts and cooperatively develop, implement, and maintain a system that is satisfactory to all.
Nakagawa, John D., "Environmental Mediation: A New Strategy for Environmental Conflict Resolution" (1980). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 611.