Typological review of environmental performance metrics for oil spill response (project report)
Seager, T.P., F.K. Satterstrom, I. Linkov, S.P. Tuler, and R. Kay, 2006. Typological review of environmental performance metrics (with illustrative examples for oil spill response). SERI Report 06-001. Technical report submitted to the Coastal Response Research Center, NOAA Grant # NA04NOS4190063. Project Number: 05-983. Greenfield, MA: Social and Environmental Research Institute, Inc.

Publication Abstract

An intensification of interest in environmental assessment during the last two decades has driven corporate efforts to better document environmental goals, improve environmental management systems, and increase awareness of the environmental and ecological effects of business operations. This trend has been motivated partly by regulatory requirements (such as the Toxics Release Inventory in the United States) and partly by the inclination of some large manufacturing firms to embrace a broader social and environmental mission characterized as ‘sustainability’ or ‘eco-efficiency.’ Moreover, the importance of measurable objectives in the United States government has been recognized at least since the Government Performance Results Act of 1993, which was intended to both improve the efficiency of government and the confidence of the American public in government managers. However, in management of environmental crises – such as catastrophic oil or chemical spills – development of measurable performance standards has lagged. Consequently, government spill managers are unable to define success in terms that are easily communicated to public and other stakeholder groups and they may be disadvantaged in their efforts to deploy response resources with maximum efficiency. This paper presents a typological review of environmental assessment measures and summarizes some of the current practices and strategic goals among federal agencies with regard to oil and chemical spills. A general approach to organizing metrics for oil spill response, restoration, and recovery is also presented. The results may improve planning efforts and communication among different federal, state, and local agencies and public or stakeholder groups involved in spill management.

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