Environmental Role-Play:

Jefferson Hazardous Waste Negotiation


Vicki Arroyo and Lawrence Susskind

Eight-party, five-issue negotiation among community, environmental, business, and government interests over the formulation of a statewide hazardous waste siting policy


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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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 will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

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

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 301-528-2676 (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 301-528-2676 (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, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. 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.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

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 “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, 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 “Quantity.” 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.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


In the state of Jefferson, an emergency situation has developed due to tremendous increases in the quantity of hazardous industrial waste produced each year. As of January 1 next year, the one in-state landfill must be closed. There are already signs that the water supplies in adjacent areas have been contaminated. The Commissioner of Environmental Quality has pressed the Governor to decide on a policy for hazardous waste disposal.

The Governor has appointed an eight-member "blue ribbon" committee to provide advice on the policy. In the Committee's first meeting, factions polarized and no agreements were reached. The Committee has agreed to convene one more time in an attempt to reconcile its differences and to make a recommendation to the Governor. The five key issues under discussion are: the relative emphases on health/safety/environment v. economic development/financial interests; the administration of environmental standards; the acceptable levels of risk to human’s health and safety; the restrictions on waste production; and compensation to adversely affected neighborhoods and the right of citizen review. If the parties cannot agree, the Governor will draft guidelines, with no special "input" from the major parties involved in this controversy.



  • There are numerous sources of negotiating power that are not necessarily correlated with a party's political clout away from the bargaining table.
  • A good working relationship may be a source of leverage in a negotiation.
  • There is often a substantial gap between a negotiator's aspirations (his or her view of the best agreement possible) and his or her BATNA. It often takes several rounds of give-and-take to estimate the gap.
  • It is possible to convince other parties to lower their aspirations by pointing out the advantage of reaching an agreement that is slightly better than their BATNA, as opposed to not reaching an agreement because of sticking to unrealistically high aspirations.



Estimated Time Requirements:

  • Total time of 2.5 hours
  • 30 mins: read instructions
  • 90 mins: negotiate
  • 45 mins: debrief



For all parties:

  • General Instructions


Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for:

  • Chair of the State Environmental Coalition
  • Commissioner of Economic Development
  • Commissioner of Environmental Quality
  • Lawyer for Citizens for Responsible Government
  • Mayor of Redford
  • President of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce
  • Representative from the Jefferson Labor Coalition
  • Representative of the Hazardous Waste Generators Association


Teacher's Package (52 pages total):

  • All of the above
  • Notes on logistics, further reading, debrief, BATNA issues and suggested exam questions.



Environmental dispute resolution; multi-party negotiation; environmental justice; joint fact finding



Agenda control; BATNA; Caucusing; Coalitions; Consensus building; Cost-benefit analysis; Integrative bargaining; Objective criteria; Options, generating; Public opinion



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Jefferson Hazardous Waste Negotiation Attributes

Time required: 2-3 hours
Number of participants: 8
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: None
Scoreable: Yes
Teaching notes available: Yes