Governments and industry, both national and international, contend that dispersants are an effective and practical response option under certain circumstances. However, a comprehensive training and education program in dispersant operations used to establish a baseline of understanding among responders and stakeholders is lacking.

Dispersant operations have played a positive and significant role on numerous oil spills in both national and international waters, yet a curriculum in dispersant operations remains a minor component of oil spill response course curricula. This may suggest that decision makers, responders and ultimately the public and environment are being shortchanged of alternative response technology training and education, which essentially fails to meet the needs of regional response teams, area committees, natural resource trustees, and the general oil spill response community's future decision makers.

Supported through case study analyses and critical argumentation, this paper presents an oil spill dispersant operations curriculum that governments and industry, both national and international, can adapt.

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Author notes

1 Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are those of the author and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Commandant, the U. S. Coast Guard, or the Department of Homeland Security.