Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Amending Approval for the Storyville Pulp and Paper Mill

Consensus Building Institute and Alberta Environmental Appeal Board
Mediation of a three-party dispute among a paper mill, a community group, and an environmental regulatory agency over the paper mill's air pollution permit

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SCENARIO:

Inter-Continental Paper, Ltd (IC) is looking to upgrade and expand its pulp and paper mill in Storyville. By doing so, it hopes to increase the production and efficiency of the mill and also claims that it will develop more environmentally friendly techniques for bleaching paper. The local Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) approved and publicly endorsed this application.

Shortly after this approval was announced, the Storyville Community Coalition (the Coalition) filed an appeal against the decision of the DEP. The Coalition is concerned that the DEP’s approval was made without due regard to the environmental impact that the approved changes will have on Storyville. The Coalition is galvanizing the locals with its claims that the IC’s ‘upgrades’ will in fact result in the release of carcinogenic materials into the local environment.

The Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) will allow the Coalition to appeal the matter. The EAB determined that this Issue might be settled through a mediated negotiation. DEP, IC, and the Coalition have agreed. Though EAB is anxious to use mediation to resolve this claim. It will proceed to a traditional hearing process in the case of an impasse. The mediation will include an EAB official who will act as mediator and representatives from the three parties; the IC Storyville plant manger, the president of the Coalition, and the director of Air and Water Approvals from DEP.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • Many participants may be unaccustomed to a process in which the mediator knows very little about the case prior to the face-to-face mediation.
  • The mediator must be able to keep the discussion focused on the ‘issues’ and allow the parties to vent ‘hard’ feelings while managing disagreements about past behavior so they do not sidetrack the dialogue.
  • The mediator must help the parties avoid spending too much time on any one issue, given time constraints, so that all key issues can be considered. Helping establish a constructive agenda and keeping the parties on track are two important responsibilities of the mediator, especially within a time limited situation.
  • The mediator must try to help the parties develop a “package” which will satisfy all groups. The exploration of options, including those not explicit in the players’ instructions, will increase the chances of building a consensus.
  • The mediator can help the stakeholders “create value” by encouraging them to think about packages (rather than single issues), future relationships, joint statements, contingent commitments, dispute handling mechanisms for the future, and determining whether one or more parties might bring additional resources to the table.
  • Moving from broad discussion to specific written agreements is often a challenge because of misunderstandings among the parties.
  • The mediator can use a “single text” to focus the parties on a shared draft, working either in a group or separately with each party to revise the text to all parties’ satisfaction.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

This role play is designed to help administrative board members improve their mediation skills.

The simulation is divided into two parts. In the first half, the parties explore areas of agreement and disagreement. In the second half, the parties strive to draft a written agreement capturing their tentative verbal understandings.

The room for the exercise should have space for 4 parties, and at least one private breakout room. It is also recommended that at least one flipchart be present so that the mediator can make use of the ‘one-text’ procedure of mediating.

 

MECHANICS:

This is a mediation among three parties. The mediator may choose to keep the parties together or speak with them separately. Each side should take 20 minutes to read their role and prepare. The negotiation will take 1 hour minimum. Debrief should last at least 30 minutes.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • General Information
  • Technology Information
  • Press Release

 

Role Specific: Confidential Instructions to

  • Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Air and Water
  • Storyville Community Coalition (the Coalition)
  • Inter-Continental Paper, Ltd (IC)
  • Environmental Appeals Board Mediator

 

Teacher’s Package (32 pages total):

  • All of the above
  • Teaching Note

 

KEYWORDS/THEMES:

Multiparty negotiation, mediation, regulatory negotiation, Environmental dispute resolution.

 

SIMILAR SIMULATIONS:

 

 

Amending Approval for the Storyville Pulp and Paper Mill Attributes

Time required:
2-3 hours
Number of participants:
4
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
None
Neutral third party present:
Mediator
Scoreable:
Yes
Teaching notes available:
Yes
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You are then permitted to view the document on your computer and either print the number of copies you purchased, or forward the electronic file as many times as the number of copies you purchased. You will only receive a link to one electronic file per document. So, if you order 25 soft copies, you may either forward copies of the link to 25 people via e-mail, or print (and/or photocopy) 25 hard copies of the document.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

The purchase price and handling fee are the same for both soft and hard copies. Soft copies do not entail a shipping fee.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as all Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish to order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Participant Copies.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.