With over 25 years of experience as a public policy mediator and facilitator, Jeff Edelstein helps governments, businesses, and non-profits throughout the U.S. resolve difficult conflict situations and make effective strategic decisions. His work has ranged from community forums to statewide planning processes to national policy initiatives. Jeff's background as a professional engineer, combined with his proven track record of mediation and facilitation, enables him to take a wholistic systems view of conflict, equipping him to handle the most challenging and complex situations.
Jeff is leading an initiative to create a U.S. Dreamer Corps program to enlist Dreamers as part of the solution to illegal immigration. The program would deploy an elite cadre of several thousand Dreamers to Central America to address the root causes of illegal immigration - poverty, crime and violence - and would deploy other Dreamers to help build secure and prosperous communities here in the U.S. In exchange, Dreamers would earn good salaries and eligibility for a pathway to citizenship. The proposal is attracting attention from a growing number of members of Congress, federal agencies, advocacy groups, think tanks, and Dreamers themselves. FMI click here.
NATIONAL NETWORK OF UNDOCUMENTED STUDENT RESOURCE CENTERS
The U.S. is home to an estimated 427,000 undocumented students in higher education. Because these students face unique challenges, more than sixty Undocumented Student Resource Centers (USRCs) have been created at colleges and universities around the nation. Jeff has assisted in the creation of a national network to help the Centers optimize their impact on the students they serve; their communities and states; and their roles helping inform policy at the local, state and national levels. FMI click here.
RIO GRANDE VALLEY WELCOMING COMMITTEE
This coalition of more than twenty humanitarian, legal aid, and advocacy groups is providing support to migrants on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, including in the first refugee camps ever on the U.S.-Mexico border, in the Mexican cities of Matamoros and Reynosa. Jeff has been providing consensus-building and organizational development support to the coalition, which is addressing critical humanitarian needs under immense pressures and dangerous conditions. FMI click here, here and here.
American Congressional Exchange
Jeff's book, From Oath to Action: Simple Acts of Courage to Rebuild American Democracy, served as an inspiration for the Bipartisan Policy Center's highly-acclaimed American Congressional Exchange (ACE), which implements the book's flagship recommendation that "members of Congress, from across the aisle and from distant parts of America, [should] tour each other's districts or states together, so they can better understand each other and our nation." Since 2018, ACE has brought together dozens of members of Congress in bipartisan pairs for such joint tours, resulting not only in improved relationships but specific pieces of bipartisan legislation.
GOWANUS CANAL SUPERFUND CLEANUP
The Gowanus Canal is one of the nation's most polluted waterbodies, located in the heart of Brooklyn, NY, one of the nation's most diverse urban environments. Jeff was selected by U.S. EPA and community representatives for the challenging task of convening and facilitating the nation's largest Superfund Community Advisory Group for the highly politicized $500 million cleanup. Jeff guided the group's 60 members through the complex process of creating a charter, organizational structure, and operating procedures, and facilitated the group through its first two years. Eleven years into this long-term project, the group is still going strong. FMI click here.
OHIO-KENTUCKY INTERSTATE DISPUTE
Jeff successfully mediated a complex cross-border litigation over drinking water and wastewater issues involving the State of Kentucky, the City of Cincinnati and the U.S. EPA. This situation highlighted key issues related to the intersection between the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. After nine months of intense complex negotiations, with multiple junctures where parties were on the verge of going back to court, a settlement agreement was achieved resolving all aspects of the dispute.
WYOMING "FRACKING" PROJECT
The Pinedale Anticline Project was one of the nation's first natural gas hydrofracturing ("fracking") projects of the 21st century, located in the highly sensitive Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and containing one of the largest natural gas reserves in the U.S. Jeff facilitated the Federal Advisory Committee for this highly controversial project, helping its opposing members from the environmental community, natural gas drillers, ranchers, and local communities reach agreement on management recommendations.
INTERNATIONAL OIL PIPELINE
Spurred by a bitterly-fought referendum battle, the City of South Portland (Maine) convened a municipal committee to draft an ordinance to address the possibility of "Tar Sands Oil" being transported through the city via the Portland-Montreal Pipeline. With Jeff's guidance and the conduct of a highly-acclaimed public process, the committee drafted the "Clear Skies Ordinance" that was enacted with nearly unanimous City Council support and which gained national attention as a precedent for local land use control over an international pipeline. The ordinance withstood seven years of constitutional legal challenges and ultimately has prevailed.
U.S. COASTAL MANAGEMENT
Jeff organized and led the facilitation team for NOAA's national initiative - titled Envisioning the Future of Coastal Management - to establish a new framework for U.S. coastal management and to reauthorize the landmark Coastal Zone Management Act. The outcomes of the initiative have served as the foundation for legislation submitted to Congress and for a variety of programmatic initiatives within the federal government.
MAINE STATE BUILDING CODE
Provided facilitation, mediation, and leadership of a process which resolved a long-running political dispute. In 2004, Maine was one of the few states in the U.S. without a statewide building code. Attempts to create such a code had been made for decades, but all failed due to polarization amongst the stakeholders. At the request of the legislature, a working group was convened to reach consensus on this difficult issue. Over 50 organizations participated, guided by a ten-person steering committee. Consensus was reached on a set of recommendations which formed the basis of legislation implementing a model code that finally put this issue to rest. Interests represented included architects, engineers, contractors, fire protection agencies, real estate developers, insurance, municipal staff and elected officials, and eight different state agencies. FMI click here.