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ADR Program

Laws and Authorities

Since 1990, Congress and the Executive branch have encouraged the use of ADR, conflict prevention, and collaborative stakeholder engagement in appropriate circumstances. This page contains brief descriptions of statutes, regulations, and administration policies that delineate the authority and requirements related to the Department of the Interior’s use of these processes, and provides links to the actual text.  Use the links below to access the descriptions and links to the text.  In addition, the BLM has its own internal directives that guide its policies on ADR, conflict prevention, and collaborative stakeholder engageme.


2005 OMB & CEQ Memorandum on Environmental Conflict Resolution (.PDF, 1.05 MB)


 Directs each Federal agency to -
- increase the effective use of environmental conflict resolution and build institutional capacity for collaborative problem solving;
- develop strategies to prevent or reduce environmental conflicts and generate opportunities for constructive collaborative problem solving when appropriate;
- actively pursue the appropriate mechanisms and strategies enumerated in the accompanying policy.
- This policy memorandum applies to all executive branch agencies (as defined by 5 U.S.C. § 105) involved in carrying out the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws in effect to manage and conserve our environment, natural resources and public lands.

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Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1998, P.L. 105-315

Directs each Federal agency to –
- adopt a policy that addresses the use of alternative means of dispute resolution;
- examine the use of ADR with respect to formal and informal adjudications, rulemakings, enforcement actions, issuing and revoking licenses or permits, contract administration, litigation brought against the agency, and other agency actions;
- designate a senior official to be the agency’s dispute resolution specialist responsible for implementation of the provisions of the Act and the agency’s policy;
- provide training on a regular basis for the dispute resolution specialist and other employees involved in carrying out the agency’s ADR policy; and
- review each standard agreement for contracts, grants and other assistance to determine whether to amend such standard agreements to authorize and encourage the use of alternative means of dispute resolution.

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Federal Sector EEOC Regulations, 29 CFR 1614


Requires each Federal agency to –
- establish or make available an ADR program during both the pre-complaint and the formal complaint process
- fully inform the aggrieved person of their right to choose between participation in an ADR program and the traditional EEO procedures
- extend the counseling period where ADR is used

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Negotiated Rulemaking Act, P.L. 104-320 (5 USC § 561 et seq.)


Authorizes and encourages each Federal agency to –
- use negotiated rulemaking processes or other innovative rulemaking procedures that allow parties that will be significantly affected by a rule to participate in the development of the rule

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Contract Disputes Act, 41 U.S.C. § 601 et seq., & Federal Acquisition Regulations, subpart 33.2, 48 CFR 33.201 et seq.


Authorizes each Federal agency to –
- encourage the use of ADR techniques to the maximum extent practicable and by voluntary election of both parties
- recognize contracting officers' authority to use ADR any time they have authority to resolve the issue in controversy

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Administrative Dispute Resolution Act, as amended, of 1996, P.L. 104-320 (originally enacted in 1990)


Requires Federal District Courts to –
- adopt a local rule authorizing the use of ADR processes in all civil actions
- devise and implement an ADR program to encourage and promote the use of ADR
- designate a person responsible for implementing, administering, overseeing and evaluating the court’s ADR program.

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