When planning response activities for an oil spill, decision makers must react to a wide range of circumstances. Decisions will vary depending on the type of petroleum product spilled and the nature of the impacted habitat. Response decisions will be based on tradeoffs dealing with the environmental consequences of the spilled oil and the response method selected, as well as the efficiency and effectiveness of the method. A new manual, Marine Oil Spill Response Options for Minimizing Environmental Impacts, is being jointly produced by industry and government to facilitate decision making for both prespill planning and incident response. Guidance will be provided through matrix tables indicating the relative environmental consequences of the different response options used for various categories of oil in open water and shoreline habitats. This paper describes the contents of the new manual.

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