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Success at the Negotiating Table: Not Just for Steel Guidelines

June 1983

Citation: 13 ELR 10171

Issue: 6

Author: Sarah Compton

The recent negotiations between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and representatives of the steel industry and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) concerning the Steel Industry Effluent Guidelines provide a promising model for the resolution of future disputes over complex pollution control rules. While these successful negotiations may have been "an aberration from the usual tug of war between industry and environmentalists," as stated by NRDC's Alan Miller in the April ELR "Dialogue" [13 ELR 10094], nothing precludes parties in similar conflicts over other environmental rules from negotiating rather than litigating their differences.1 In fact, contestants in future such conflicts can learn several valuable lessons from the steel settlement.

First, the parties worked hard at dissolving negative perceptions of each other. This was accomplished in large part by involving a great many nonlawyers who shared considerable on-site experience and technical knowledge.

Ms. Compton, a partner in the Georgetown law firm of Collier, Shannon, Rill & Scott, was co-counsel for the American Iron and Steel Institute along with her partner Richard Schwartz in the steel negotiations.

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