I n 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to increase the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques and
practices across all agency programs.' ADR in this context means the variety of approaches that allow parties to meet face to face to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the issues in a dispute or potentially controversial situation.2 ADR is often viewed as intervention between conflicting parties or viewpoints to promote reconciliation, settlement, compromise, or understanding.3 This includes mere assistance from a neutral third party to the negotiation process.4 Such assistance can be directed toward settling disputes arising out of past events, or it can be directed toward establishing rules to govern future conduct.s
For the purposes of this research, we focus on ADR as a negotiation tool in which third-party neutral facilitators and mediators (herein referred to as "neutrals") are called upon to aid parties' attempts at finding resolutions to disputes related to enforcement activities at EPA. EP~s efforts in this area began in earnest in 1981. Box 13-1 provides a historical overview of ADR efforts at EPA.