Service Areas: Consensus Building
Established by Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Executive Order 73, the Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice (ACEJ) is charged with advising the Executive Branch to help ensure that low-income and minority communities in Virginia do not bear a disproportionate environmental burden. The first three ACEJ meetings were facilitated by IEN’s Director Tanya Denckla Cobb and other representatives of the Institute. The Council is comprised of 15 leaders from academia, business, public service, and non-governmental organizations, and will meet quarterly at locations across the state.... Continue reading →
IEN facilitated a stakeholder engagement process, funded by the Virginia Transportation Research Council, to determine the future of Clarkton Bridge. The bridge, which spans the Staunton River at the border between Halifax and Charlotte Counties in southern Virginia, is over 100 years old, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The condition of the bridge has deteriorated and it has been closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic for several years. The Virginia Department of Transportation felt that the bridge posed a hazard to public safety and should be removed, while some... Continue reading →
Photos courtesy of Stacey Evans (left) and Nina Morris (right). The IEN is working with the Sustainable Food Strategy task force to implement the University of Virginia's Sustainable Food Action Plan (2016-2020) goals relating to food. Founded in 2017, the Task Force is chaired by Tanya Denckla Cobb, Director of IEN, and includes a broad array of representatives concerned and interested in food and its impacts: UVA Dining (Aramark),... Continue reading →
On February 2, 2014 between 30,000 and 39,000 tons of coal ash and approximately 24 to 27 million gallons of ash pond water from the Duke Energy Dan River Steam Station were released into the Dan River. As part of its response to this event, Duke Energy contracted with IEN to provide impartial process design and facilitation of a community Stakeholder Team to identify community concerns and seek community consensus for solutions that address the impacts of the coal ash release. The facilitation team also included Dr. Martha Walker of Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE). The Dan River Basin... Continue reading →
A new professional certificate is being developed to assist in the Bay cleanup effort. Local governments wish to know who they can trust to design and install BMPs that will qualify and count toward their TMDL load reductions goals. Others wish to raise the bar, so that landscape professionals become more knowledgeable about Bay-appropriate design and BMPs, in design, implementation, and maintenance. IEN has been asked to serve as facilitator for the steering committee consensus decision-making meetings, led by a partnership of Wetlands Watch, the... Continue reading →
Employees of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality participated in a two-day training provided by IEN in Summer 2015 on interest-based negotiation (IBN). In 2016, IEN conducted another two-day training in IBN as well as a separate two-day training in designing and facilitating community engagement.
(2012) IEN worked with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to facilitate separate discussions for the MS4 General Permit RAP, the Construction General Permit RAP, and the Nutrient Trading RAP. The goals of the negotations were: to ensure that all RAP members have an opportunity to be heard and are able to contribute to discussions, to determine key issues of concern to RAP members and facilitate discussions of how proposed regulatory amendments address those concerns, and to help identify consensus and remaining differences concerning draft proposed regulations.
The Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute is a program for emerging leaders confronted with Virginia's most pressing natural resource issues who seek new skills in conflict resolution and collaborative problem solving. VNRLI is comprised of six sessions held over nine months in regions across Virginia, during which Fellows learn about the important environmental issues facing our state through a combination of mini-lectures, experiential exercises, stakeholder panel discussions, and field trips. You can find more information about the program... Continue reading →
(2000) With facilitation by the IEN, a twenty-two member Advisory Committee met for six all-day meetings to discuss and debate how best to protect public health, minimize the need for remedial action, and reduce permitting delays for Virginia's onsite septic system permitting and inspection program. Following a charge by the General Assembly to privatize the onsite septic system program, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) had been grappling with the difficult issues associated with privatization of functions that required continued public oversight. The Committee developed a consensus... Continue reading →
(1999 - 2000) The Town of Shenandoah lies just below Shenandoah National Park. A Brownfields Assessment Pilot grant, finalized in October 1998, provided $200,000 to help the town determine any contamination present in the soil or groundwater of the 65-acre \"Big Gem\" site, where an iron furnace had long ago ceased operations, and to create a cleanup and redevelopment plan. To structure the process, the EPA offered the help of the Harrisonburg Community Mediation Center and the Institute for Environmental Negotiation to the Town of Shenandoah. For the two year process that followed, IEN... Continue reading →