1. Describe steps taken by your department/agency to build programmatic/institutional
capacity for ECR in 2008, including progress made since 2007. If no steps were
taken, please indicate why not.
performance and achievement. You are encouraged to attach policy statements,
The Commission continued to take steps to build programmatic/institutional capacity for
environmental conflict resolution (ECR) in 2008:
o The Commission’s Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) entered into an agreement with the Harvard
Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) to study alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in
the energy industry, inclusive of ECR, in three regulated energy sectors: electricity, hydropower
and natural gas. The study will help the Commission better understand how energy companies
view ADR as a tool for energy conflict prevention and resolution, their receptiveness and resistance
to its use and the reasons for those positions, and what measures can be taken to improve the
capacity and entry points for ADR/ECR in energy and environmental-related decision-making and
The Commission’s DRS continues to integrate ADR/ECR objectives and principles in its goals and
mission statements and GPRA goals and strategic planning. In its Strategic Plan, the Commission
notes that it “encourages the use of alternative dispute resolution procedures” as part of its guiding
principle of Due Process and Transparency. The annual Performance Budget Request to the Office
of Management and Budget tracks environmental collaborative problem-solving and ADR processes
(including ECR) and identifies specific performance measurement data and results supporting the
Commission’s ADR and ECR initiatives. Below are ADR/ECR performance and achievement
measures for 2008.
o The DRS addressed 57 new ADR requests and referrals (42 were completed within the period
and 15 were ongoing). These numbers exceed the number of referrals for FY2004 (54 total).
o The DRS had a 90% success rate in assisting parties achieve consensual resolution of cases (18
out of 20 cases were resolved).
o Of the total number of ADR requests, referrals and cases identified in the two bulleted items
above, eighteen (18) of them involved environmental matters. The DRS used ECR to successfully
resolve six (6) of these cases and was unable to resolve one (1) of these cases through an ECR
process. The DRS was used in a coaching capacity to assist in resolving two (2) of these cases.
After initial intake in the DRS, five (5) cases were referred to the Commission’s Office of Energy
Projects and three (3) were referred to the Enforcement Hotline. ECR was found not to be an
inappropriate process for one (1) case.
o The DRS receives customer feedback from surveys participants complete at training and
workshop sessions, and for cases. In trainings and workshops for FY 08, participant ranking for
Course Content averaged 89%, and Instructor Effectiveness 93%, out of 100%. For casework
concluded during the period, all participants who completed evaluations gave the DRS staff
favorable comments for a satisfaction rate of 100%.
o The DRS delivered or assisted with 37 outreach events. The DRS met all the needs for outreach.
The Commission continually makes the effort to improve upon efficiency and infrastructure support
for ADR/ECR and invests in research and program support.
o The joint study that the Commission’s Dispute Resolution Service and the HNMCP entered into in
August 2008 was initiated to gain better insights into the effectiveness of the Commission’s ADR
program and ADR use in general as a tool for energy conflict prevention and resolution. Based on
participatory feedback from energy companies, the Commission anticipates the study results will
assist the Commission in improving its ADR program on cost-effective ADR/ECR case services that
meet the needs of energy stakeholders.
In addition, the study results will enable the DRS to determine to what extent in three areas,
education, outreach, and infrastructure support, the Commission can improve upon its ADR/ECR
program. Several Harvard Law School interns in the clinical program on negotiation will work
closely with FERC’s DRS in FY 2009 to gather information on the topic of the use of ADR in the
o In FY 08 the Commission invested in program support. The Commission’s DRS advertised for
two full-time dispute resolution specialists to replace two professional staff that left in FY 07 and FY
08. With the new hires anticipated to join staff in the early part of FY09, the Commission will have
six dispute resolution specialists and one support staff.
Further, the DRS initiated recruitment of conflict resolution graduate interns from the new Master’s
Program in Conflict Resolution at Georgetown University. In the summer of FY 08 the
Commission’s DRS employed two full time interns on temporary, salary appointments and one
continued on through the fall as a temporary part-time intern. The interns assisted with several