Email Updates
Sign up to stay informed about the latest happenings at Interior.


Sign up to stay informed about the latest happenings at Interior.
Email Updates
Sign up to stay informed about the latest happenings at Interior.
U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Policy, Management and Budget
Click to toggle text size.

2006 FACA Emerson Dalton

Presentation by David Emmerson, DOI, and Deborah Dalton, EPA
February 21, 2006

Slide 1

Using Consensus-Building and Collaboration in the Context of FACA

David Emmerson - Department of the Interior, Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution
Deborah Dalton - Environmental Protection Agency, Conflict Resolution and Resolution Center

Slide 2


Seal of the Department of the Interior, Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution

DOI Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution

  • Upstream/Downstream
Seal of the Environmental Protection Agency, Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center
EPA Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center

Slide 3

What is Consensus?

  • Distinguish From Majority Vote
  • A Package of items Everyone can Live with

Slide 4

What is Collaboration?

  • Collaborative Behavior
  • Collaborative Problem-Solving
  • “Shared Decision-Making”
  • “Little d” decisions - Agency still has ultimate authority.

Slide 5

Federal Government is Increasingly Endorsing Collaboration

  • Societal Trend - Watershed Groups/Volunteerism
  • Joint OMB/CEQ Memo - Principles of Agency Engagement
  • Cooperative Conservation Initiative
  • FACA Regulations
  • Establishment of United States Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution


Larsen Cartoon of 2 wolves in a cave with 3 cavemen outside in the rain. One wolf says to the other: "Be firm, Arnold. . . Let them in once and they'll expect it every time."

Slide 6

Benefits of Consensus-Building/Collaborative Problem-Solving

  • Build Trust
  • Emphasis Placed on Planning
  • Group buy-In on Decisions
  • Solutions Gain Durability
  • Enhances Legitimacy of Decisions
  • Encourages Creative thinking
  • Builds relationships that may last into other Projects.

Slide 7

FACA Committees - Good Candidates for Consensus Decision-Making

FACA Requirements Overlap With Best Practices:

  • Balanced Membership/Identify All interests
  • Stated Purpose and Need/Assess Conflict
  • Public Meetings/Transparency
  • Advance Notice of Meetings/Planning, Structure, Minutes, Record-Keeping

Slide 8

Use of Neutral

  • Difference Between Facilitator and Mediator
  • Can perform an “Assessment”
  • Have No Stake in Matter
  • Allow Parties to focus on Substance
  • Can Help parties through difficult Negotiations

Slides 9 and 10

Qualifications of Neutral

  • Manage Complex Information and Data
  • Coordinate Communications and Activities
  • Personal Qualities: Credibility, Sensitivity, Presence, and Persistence
  • Ability to write clearly and effectively
  • Neutrals Should be Familiar With Underlying Concepts of FACA
  • Communicate and Listen Effectively
  • Analyze and Assess Conflicts
  • Design Process with Parties
  • Promote Interest-Based Negotiations
  • Organize and Manage Meetings
  • Ensure full participation, help develop structural Integrity of Group

Slide 11

Where to Get a Neutral

  • In House
    • Concerns: Trust of Parties, Experience, Skills, Time
  • Private Practice
    • Costs
    • Contracting issues
  • Other Federal agencies

Slide 12

Concerns When Using Neutral

  • Clearly Define roles of Neutral and DFO and Chairperson
  • Management concerns regarding loss of control or status or delegation of tasks
  • Costs
  • Is Neutral Doing his/her job?
    • (Maintaining Neutrality, trust of parties, etc.)

Slide 13

Challenges of Using FACA as Vehicle for Collaborative Problem Solving

  • Caucuses of interest groups or between interest groups
  • Use of workgroups
  • Between meetings work of members
  • Appointing relevant members in a timely way
  • Timeliness of decision making within vertical hierarchy of agency

Slide 14

FACA Committees That Have Used Consensus-Building

  • NPS Overflights
  • RAC Committees
  • Negotiated Rulemaking Committees

Slide 15

Photograph of small plane flying over the Grand Canyon    

NPS Overflights

  • FAA/NPS/Tribes/Air Tours/Conservation Groups
  • SubCommittee of NP Advisory board
  • Mediated by Phil Harter
  • Group reaches consensus on National Rule for Air Tour Overflights - adopted by Congress in Legislation

Slide 16

BLM Resource Advisory Committees

  • Set Up to bring wide range of perspectives together to advise BLM on Resource Management Issues
  • Many have used Collaborative Problem Solving and Consensus-building to reach agreements on Recommendations ( Steens Mountain, Central Montana, many others)
    Photograph of a canyon

Slide 17

Negotiated Rulemaking

  • Special Kind of FACA Committee
  • Convened under Negotiated Rulemaking Act
  • Aside from standard FACA requirements, also requires: use of convenor, use of facilitator.
  • Becoming more popular at DOI - Cape Cod, Fire Island, Golden Gate, Cape Hatteras (Interplay of NEPA/FACA/REG-NEG)

Slide 18

National Seashore Off-Road Driving Negotiated Rulemaking

  • Cape Cod National Seashore - needed to develop new regulations to control access and routes of off-road and beach driving of tourists, nature lovers, residents and fishermen.
    • protect the fragile dunes
    • provide critical habitat for nesting/fledging endangered Piping Plover.
    • existing regulations evolved over a period of 35 years
    • long-standing and serious controversy between park and stakeholders.
    Photograph of seashore and dune

Slide 19

Sunny Hoest and John Reiner Cartoon of 2 knights attacking a castle with a catapult. A large baseball bat is mounted over the castle walls. One knight says to the other: "I think maybe we should change our attack strategy."    

Need to Collaborate, but No FACA Committee in Sight?

  • Options:
    • Outside Contractor
    • Non-Fed entity
    • Form FACA Committee
    • Form FACA Subcommittee
    • Public Meetings that don’t result in Group Recommendation

Slide 20

Some Tools for Collaborative Problem-solving

  • Basic Principles for Agency Engagement in Environmental Conflict Resolution and Collaborative Problem-Solving
  • Ground Rules

Slide 21

Basic Principles

  • Informed Commitment
  • Balanced, Voluntary Representation
  • Group Autonomy
  • Informed Process
  • Accountability
  • Openness
  • Timeliness
  • Implementation

Slide 22

Importance of Ground Rules

  • Replacement for Roberts Rules of Order
  • Describe Scope and Limit of Negotiation
  • Define Operating Procedures
  • Define Roles and Responsibilities
  • Try Out Parties Negotiation Style
  • Set a Productive Tone Demonstrating Parties’ ability to Agree

Slide 23

Ground Rules Should Address:

  • Purpose and Scope
  • Decision-Making and Ratification Process
  • Representation, Roles, and Responsibilities
  • Alternate representatives
  • Procedural Requirements, Sunshine Laws, Confidentiality
  • Behavioral Guidelines
  • Organization and Conduct of Process


    Larsen Cartoon of a Western sheriff talking with his deputy. A large pile of horses, men, and equipment is on the ground behind the deputy. The sheriff says: "And so you just threw everything together? . . . Mathews, a posse is something you have to organize."

Slide 25

Read More About It!