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Alternative Dispute Resolution

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

picture of hands EPA uses the definition of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996: "any procedure that is used to resolve issues in controversy, including but not limited to, conciliation, facilitation, mediation, fact finding, minitrials, arbitration, and use of ombuds, or "5 USC 571(3). 

These techniques involve a neutral third party, a person who assists others in designing and conducting a process for reaching agreement, if possible. The neutral third party has no stake in the substantive outcome of the process. Depending on the circumstances of a particular dispute, neutral third parties may be Agency employees or may come from outside EPA.  

Typically, all aspects of ADR are voluntary, including the decision to participate, the type of process used, and the content of any final agreement.  In some cases, some ADR techniques (such as facilitation, mediation, and fact-finding) are used to facilitate public involvement in EPA decision making.

For more information about EPA's use of ADR, please contact the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center, U.S. EPA, Ariel Rios Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (MC 2310A), Washington, D.C., 20460; (202) 564-2922; adr@epa.gov.

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