Response managers and resource protection specialists often face difficult environmental trade-offs. Many decisions are time sensitive so decision-making criteria developed prior to an actual spill event will often hold sway. Despite such planning efforts all too frequently there is great room for doubt and plenty of room for speculation regarding response decisions. Response planners frequently debate environmental trade-offs associated with dispersant applications, shoreline cleanup strategy, etc. Broad assumptions and uncertainty are in large part the fuel for such debates. This paper focuses on the dilemmas associated with developing a particular response plan in a particular geographic area (i.e., for the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Development of this plan is important because of needs for rapid response decisions in an area involving many conflicting interests. This paper suggests an approach for developing this plan utilizing real time risk analysis.