This report describes the results of a study about the relative importance of spill response objectives to stakeholders, from varied organizations and government agencies. In this study the population of interest includes spill planners, managers, and responders. We did not attempt to ascertain the viewpoints salient among community members in the four regions (i.e., general public). We investigated the views of people involved in response planning and in spill responses in Buzzards Bay, Delaware Bay, San Francisco Bay, and Washington State regions. We begin this paper with a discussion of the research method used in the study, Q method. Then, the results from the four regions are discussed separately. In Buzzards Bay, Delaware Bay, and San Francisco Bay three perspectives were identified in each case. In Washington State two perspectives were identified. We then turn to a discussion of four archetype perspectives that underlay the set of case-specific perspectives These four perspectives are compared on several themes, including the emphasis they place on mitigating economic impacts, protecting health and safety, mitigating ecological impacts,
implementing a coordinated and timely response, addressing needs and concerns of the affected public/communities, gaining public support for the response, mitigating cultural impacts, and mitigating social nuisance impacts. We draw four conclusions from these findings that are important for guiding future oil spill response planning:
- a small set of archetype perspectives describe how a response effort should be implemented,
- spill planners, managers, and responders may emphasize different components of contingency plans,
- while there are differences among spill planners, managers, and responders about which objectives to emphasis, many of these differences are not of a fundamental nature rooted in deeply held differences about what should be done in the initial stages of a response, and
- before stakeholders can fruitfully discuss performance metrics to guide planning for future responses or evaluate past spill responses there needs to be some agreement about which objectives are important to measure.