Program was a success! Facilitation and Mediation of Public and Environmental Conflicts: Practical Strategies for Reaching Agreement, May 3-5, 2016!

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CDR’s 2016 training program was a huge success.  It focused on setting up and facilitating successful multi-party collaborative efforts. We teach you how to address aspects such as technical and political complexity, broad public involvement, media and other components. Our trainers use their personal experience in the field to demonstrate techniques and concepts. Our program blends presentations, group discussion, conflict analysis and strategy design exercises and simulations into a highly engaging learning environment.

The 2017 training dates will be posted later this year.  Please check back or sign up for our mailing list and we’ll notify you automatically.

To learn more about all of our public training opportunities or to register, click here.

Colorado Oil and Gas MOU Stakeholder Assessment

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As fracking technology has enabled oil and gas companies increasingly to drill near communities, tensions involving industry, community advocates, state regulators, and local governments have escalated on Colorado’s Front Range. While local governments in western Colorado have had to find ways to address local concerns about the impacts of oil and gas drilling for years, the debate has reached a new level as production has moved to the populated cities on the east side of the Rockies.

Among the strategies used by local governments to address the impacts of oil and gas development are Memoranda of Agreement (MOUs) with operators to define how, and under what conditions, local development may occur. While the use of MOUs has drawn some mixed reactions from stakeholders regarding their efficacy, enforceability and transparency, MOUs have been increasingly utilized to address oil and gas concerns at the local level while avoiding lawsuits over the authority of communities to regulate oil and gas development.

What types of MOU provisions and processes have effectively addressed local concerns while reducing polarization over the issues? Which have done so less successfully? What have been the most significant challenges or barriers to the use of MOUs in this context? What are the greatest opportunities for using MOUs to build broadly supported outcomes? These are among the questions CDR is asking, along with the Intermountain Oil and Gas Best Management Practices (BMP) Project, originally a project of the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment at the University of Colorado Law School. With grants from the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Colorado Energy Office and others, the project will result in a searchable repository of Colorado oil and gas MOUs and the best management practices they contain, as well as a stakeholder assessment regarding the use of MOUs in Colorado.

For more information, please contact Ryan Golten or visit our energy practice page.

Engaging Stakeholders in Collaborative Approaches to Multi-Party Water Conflicts: CDR’s Ryan Golten as Featured Panelist at ABA’s 34th Annual Water Law Conference

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Legal conflicts over water often involve multiple stakeholders with varying levels of technical knowledge and political power along with passionately-felt values, needs and fears. Positions can be entrenched and degrees of trust are often low. How can attorneys encourage parties to work collaboratively in this type of environment? What do parties need in order to engage in a collaborative process, outside of litigation? What contributes to building a credible, productive problem-solving process and ensuring key stakeholders are at the table?

CDR’s Ryan Golten was a featured panelist at the American Bar Association’s Water Law Conference in Austin this March to address these questions with an audience of roughly 200 water attorneys. Along with fellow panelist Eric Hecox of South Metro Water Supply Authority, she discussed strategies and approaches for engaging parties in collaborative approaches to multi-party water disputes and transactions. Her discussion and paper included case-study examples to illustrate how to assess the workability of a collaborative approach, structure a credible process, and ensure key stakeholders are involved, along with other strategies to set up a problem-solving process to help ensure a successful, broadly supported outcome.

Click here to read the paper. For more information, please contact Ryan Golten or visit our water practice page.

CDR Supports Western Governors Association Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative

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The WGA is working with stakeholders throughout western states to share best practices in species management, promote and elevate the role of states in species conservation efforts, and explore ways to improve the efficacy of the Endangered Species Act. As part of this effort, CDR partnered with the Ruckelshaus Institute and facilitated in-depth breakout sessions at WGA’s Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act (ESA) Initiative in Denver. CDR facilitated sessions on law and policy challenges and opportunities to improve federal, state and local agency coordination. A signature Initiative of WGA Chairman and Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, the Initiative includes four workshops (in Wyoming, Idaho, Denver and Hawaii) with each building upon previous discussions. WGA describes the purpose to “yield recommendations for improvements to state species conservation activities and the ESA, as well as suggest pathways for states to operate as authentic partners in the Act’s implementation.” The Initiative includes a webinar series and will ultimately result in a WGA white paper based on workshop discussions. The WGA Initiative is described in more depth at http://www.westgov.org/initiatives/esa-initiative.

For more information, please contact Ryan Golten or Laura Sneeringer or visit our land practice page.

CDR Facilitated an Urban Prairie Dog Management Dialogue

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The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department is in the process of updating its 10-Year Wildlife Management Plan, with an emphasis on its urban prairie dog management guidelines. CDR facilitated a workshop among local and state wildlife management agencies and consultant organizations to provide feedback on Fort Collins’ urban prairie dog management approaches and to share best practices and lessons learned.

Urban prairie dog management has become more challenging as increased land development leads to smaller, isolated parcels of land that do not provide the best habitat. When new development is proposed, it can be difficult to relocate prairie dogs due to limited receiving sites, the need to maintain suitable capacity within current colonies, and associated costs. While some residents are proponents of conserving urban prairie dog habitat, others voice frustrating experiences. Prairie dogs can overgraze leading to dust issues and migrate into adjacent properties. Some people have concerns about reducing property values and perceived health concerns.

The workshop was a meaningful information exchange for all participants. The group discussed a wide range of topics such as the costs and benefits of urban prairie dog management and best practices for coordination with private property owners, trapping and relocation, passive relocation, and fumigation. Fort Collins will use the insights from the workshop to refine its management guidelines, which will ultimately be reviewed more broadly through a public process.

For more information, please contact Laura Sneeringer or visit our land practice page.

Alfred P. Sloan and Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation Fund CDR Assessment of Industry Best Practices

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Recently, we were happy to announce the receipt of a generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in cooperation with Resources for the Future (RFF) to conduct a third-party independent assessment of best practices in social performance and community engagement in unconventional energy development in Colorado and Pennsylvania. That project is now underway. RFF and CDR are excited to announce a second grant from the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation to add Texas to the research. The Mitchell Foundation describes itself as “an engine of change in both policy and practice in Texas, supporting high-impact projects at the nexus of environmental protection, social equity, and economic vibrancy.” Its mission is to “seek innovative, sustainable solutions for human and environmental problems.” The late George Mitchell pioneered the modern technology of hydraulic fracturing.

The RFF/CDR project will focus on case studies where industry practices in community engagement and social performance have shown success in addressing community needs and overcoming conflicts. The project will examine what practices are working, where and why they are working, what outcomes they produced, and whether the practices are transferable to other regions. The findings will provide the oil and gas industry with tools to improve their “social licenses to operate” within communities and will empower communities to engage more effectively with industry to better satisfy community interests.

The 18-month assessment will rely on community, industry, and government input to identify potential case studies and initial contacts that have direct experience with industry operators and community outreach staff. The research team is also collecting data on the social, economic and political makeup of communities where case studies are conducted to help determine whether such variables are factors in the effectiveness of industry practices. Industry transparency is also a critical component of the study and the willingness of industry representatives to openly share their practices and to allow the research team to critically evaluate them.

The project is led by CDR Senior Program Manager Todd Bryan. Dr. Bryan has conducted comprehensive assessments and helped groups overcome challenging conflicts for more than 25 years. He holds a Ph.D. from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan.

For more information, please contact Todd Bryan or visit our energy practice page.