Wed Nov 26 2014   
 

Student News

Student Efforts in Superior Court Receive Arizona Supreme Court Award Read more...

Posted: 10/22/2014

 

Andy Hall (2L) a featured speaker at TEDxTucson May Salon Read more...

Posted: 05/08/2014

 

Arizona Law Students Take First and Second Place in Tang Writing Competition Read more...

Posted: 03/26/2014

 

 

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Course Description

While collaboration, public participation, and openness in government have been themes of President Obamas administration, these concepts have long been core principles of our federal government. In particular, the Administrative Procedure Act and Freedom of Information Act guarantee the public a role in shaping federal agency policy and access to information about agency decision-making. Since passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in 1969 these concepts have been applied directly to environmental decision-making. Federal law and White House policy for several years have encouraged agencies to use alternative dispute resolution to address environmental conflicts, including by direct agency engagement of stakeholders. The primary law, the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996 provides confidentiality for dispute resolution communications, including an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act. These various laws and initiatives create conflicting values  openness, confidentiality, inclusiveness, public interest, and individual stakeholder interest.

The class uses a combination of discussion, exercises and role-playing to explore the interaction between these conflicting values and how to strike the appropriate balance, considering the legal framework and policy goals. The initial class sessions introduce the students to the relevant legal frame work, the issues confronting public resource managers, and examples of collaborative decision-making. Students are then introduced to a scenario concerning the management of a national forest and the need to balance a broad range of interests including ecosystem restoration, economic development, recreational use, tribal concerns, and local government. Students are assigned roles representing these interests, design a process for addressing the conflicting interests, and negotiate certain elements of a forest management plan. The class then compares what happened in the simulation with actual cases. At the conclusion of the course, students submit a 10-15 page paper evaluating the simulation by analyzing an issue such as how effectively the collaboration process balanced the tension between inclusiveness and practicality, or how the negotiation could have been changed to be more effective. Grading will be on a pass/fail basis.

 

Updated: 01/06/2014