This paper discusses Net Environmental Benefit Analysis (NEBA) from an ecological point of view, that is, the weighing of advantages and disadvantages of various spill responses with regard to flora and fauna and their habitats, compared with no response. Particular attention is paid to nearshore dispersant spraying and shore cleanup; and the scientific case history and experimental evidence that can be brought to bear on these responses is reviewed. For shoreline cleanup, consideration is given both to the shore itself and to potentially interacting systems that could be affected in various ways depending on the spill response (e.g., a bird colony or nearshore aquaculture facilities). For some scenarios, nearshore dispersant spraying can offer a net environmental benefit. For most cases of shore oiling, there is little ecological justification for any form of cleanup if only the shore itself is considered, but moderate cleanup carried out for the sake of interacting systems is acceptable. Aggressive cleanup often delays recovery.