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In Different Tongues: Making Room for Cultural Differences in the Negotiated Rulemaking Process

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image of International Negotiation

This article explores the ethical impact of cultural recognition within the regulatory negotiation (reg-neg) process as it is currently being used by federal agencies in the United States. The authors use a blend of theory and practice to explore the ethical necessity, feasibility, and practicality of including cultural guidelines within the reg-neg process. Using the findings from extensive prior research on negotiated rulemaking at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a foundation, we illustrate the lessons learned from years of regulatory negotiations conducted by the pioneer of reg-neg. We then show how these lessons have been brought under an umbrella of ``cultural recognition'' within the consensus-based regulatory negotiation being used to improve relations between American Indian nations and the U.S. government. We discuss the ethical and practical implications of incorporating cultural sensitivity into the reg-neg process.

Affiliations: 1: Salisbury University, Center for Conflict Resolution, 1100 Camden Avenue, Salisbury, MD 21801, USA (E-mail:; 2: Nova Southeastern University, 3301 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314, USA (E-mail:


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