Ecological Risk Analysis: Net Environmental Benefit Analysis (NEBA)
Ecological Risk Analysis logo Ecological Risk Analysis:  Guidance, Tools, and Applications
Contaminated Sites
Petroleum-Contaminated Sites
Net Environmental Benefit Analysis
Military Training and Testing
Air Pollutants
Wastewater Treatment Risks
Biological Uptake

Net Environmental Benefit Analysis (NEBA)


Net environmental benefits are the gains in environmental services or other ecological properties attained by actions, minus the environmental injuries caused by those actions. A net environmental benefit analysis (NEBA) is a methodology for comparing and ranking the net environmental benefit associated with multiple management alternatives. NEBAs can be conducted for a variety of stressors and management options, including chemical contaminant mitigation, hydropower mitigation, global climate change mitigation (e.g., carbon sequestration), etc.

NEBA for chemically contaminated sites typically involves the comparison of the following management alternatives: (1) leaving contamination in place; (2) physically, chemically, or biologically remediating the site through traditional means; (3) improving ecological value through onsite and offsite restoration alternatives that do not directly focus on removal of chemical contamination or (4) a combination of those alternatives.

NEBA involves goals that are common to both Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) and remedial alternatives analysis for the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Liability Act (CERCLA) and related state regulations, e.g., valuing ecological entities, assessing adverse impacts, and evaluating restoration options. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is developing a framework for NEBA, with special application to petroleum spills in terrestrial, wetland and aquatic environments. This framework is funded by the National Petroleum Technology Office of the U. S. Department of Energy. Primary information gaps related to NEBA include: non-monetary valuation methods, exposure-response models for all stressors, the temporal dynamics of ecological recovery, and optimal strategies for ecological restoration.

Collaborators on the NEBA framework include Joseph P. Nicolette of CH2M Hill and Glenn W. Suter II of the National Center for Environmental Assessment of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view the following documents. You can download a free copy from the Adobe site.

Efroymson, R.A, J.P. Nicolette, and G. W. Suter. 2003. A Framework for Net Environmental Benefit Analysis for Remediation or Restoration of Petroleum-Contaminated Sites. ORNL/TM-2003/17.


Perspectives on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill - It was in Prince William Sound that this concept was first used, and it has continued to develop.

Home | Contaminated Sites | Petroleum-Contaminated Sites | Radionuclides | 
Net Environmental Benefit Analysis |  Military Training and Testing | Air Pollutants | 
Wastewater Treatment Risks | Biological Uptake  | Tools | Links

Comments or requests for more information should be sent to Rebecca Efroymson (
Last Updated: February 26, 2003

Top of Page