The Instigator
beastboy838
Con (against)
Losing
11 Points
The Contender
J.Kenyon
Pro (for)
Winning
65 Points

Allowing deep water offshore oil drilling is in the best interest of the United States.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/29/2010 Category: News
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,653 times Debate No: 13241
Debate Rounds (1)
Comments (4)
Votes (14)

 

beastboy838

Con

Resolved: Allowing deep water offshore oil drilling is in the best interest of the United States. My partner and I stand in firm negation of today's resolution because the gamble of deep shore oil drilling has only provided harms and the risk of disaster happening again is undeniable.
Our First contention is that deep offshore oil drilling has been disastrous in the past.
On April 20, 2010 the deepwater Horizon in the Mocondo well just south of Louisiana blew out killing 11 workers and setting off a massive spill that ultimately led to more than 200 million gallons of oil spewing from BP's undersea well. It took over 86 days to stop the well from gushing oil and its effects were extremely detrimental to the United States. This problem wasn't just the actual spill but the fact that we were unable to safely clean up the gulf and restore the damage done. The main chemical used by the BP rescue effort was Corexit. Studies by the Environmental Research Institute have proven that Corexit dispersants, in combination with crude oil, pose grave health risks to marine life and human health, and threaten to deplete critical niches in the Gulf food web that may never recover." The study went on to say that Oil, when combined with dispersants in the water column is more toxic to marine species than either oil or dispersant alone." Not only are this chemicals toxic but they have failed to rid the ocean of oil. The University of Georgia found that the main plume at roughly 3,600 feet below the surface; still extended for more than 20 miles southwest of the well. It was more than a mile wide in places and 600 feet thick, traveling at about four miles a day on August 19, 2010. This environmental disaster is also an economic one. According to the Energy Policy Foundation on July 2, 2010, "Since the Mocondo blowout and spill, over 35,000 Gulf Coast business owners and workers have filed claims for lost income.". A fallow up study by the University of Central Florida the spill could cost Florida $10.9 billion in lost economic activity and 195,000 jobs due to a loss of economic spending in tourism and fishing. The study said that those figures reflect what would happen if Florida's 23 Gulf Coast counties lose 50 percent of their tourism and leisure jobs and spending.
Our second contention is that the risk of another BP spill is too great to handle.
Currently based on the standards set by The Outer continental shelf land the oil industry does not have the technology to prevent the event of another large deep oil spill. The devices used in emergencies in deep shore oil rigs are called Blow out prevention systems. Other wise known as BOPs. The problem with this device is the depth of deep shore oil production. The standard BOP used in deep water offshore rigs cannot function under such depths. A recent 2009 mms report found that a standard bops are required by law to handle 15000 pounds per square inch of internal pressure. They are not however required to withstand external water pressure which in deep water adds another 2000 psi to the BOP. This level of uncertainty and risk associated with current BOP technology directly conflicts with OCLA requirements and puts our nation at risk especially by the fact that if they fail (which is very likely as a result of deep water pressure) then the ability to contain a deepwater oil spill is very unlikely to do in a timely manner. These mechanical and logistical problems are quantified in a failure rate provided by the New York Times last month; researchers concluded that in actual practice, blowout preventers used by deepwater rigs had a "failure" rate of 45 percent." The worse part is that the officials who operate these mechanisms know the dangers and completely ignore the risks. According to three studies by the West Engineering Services in 2004, 2006, and 2009, showed 62 instances of BOP failures, four of which were deemed "safety critical." These findings were turned over to the MMS and the drilling continued. In a congressional testimony direct at sub committee on energy and environment, industry executives have admitted that industry is unprepared to effectively stop deep water oil well blow outs and that the attempts made to cap the Mocondo well were improvised and untested. As a result of off shore drilling failing yet another requirement of OCLA requirements, a con ballet is necessary.
J.Kenyon

Pro

I'll be addressing most of Con's points under C1 and the alphabetical subpoints. I'll make the affirmative constructive and expand on the economic case for drilling in C3 and the environmental case in C2 and C4.

1. The environmental damage done by the Deepwater Horizon spill has been grossly exaggerated. According to Josiah Schmidt of the Associated Press, most of the heavy components have dispersed into the ocean sediment where it will be digested by bacteria. http://www.lewrockwell.com... The harmful benzene has mostly evaporated into the upper atmosphere where it will have no noticeable effect.

Time reports that the spill has killed less than 1% of the number of birds that died as a result of the Exxon-Valdez. http://www.time.com... Despite the horror stories, wildlife organizations have found only three oiled marine mammal carcasses. Only about 350 acres of Louisiana marches have been damaged – paltry compared to the 150,000 that erode naturally each year.

b. The economic damages have been overstated as well. Fishing areas have been reopened following NOAA's findings that fish populations are safe and uncontaminated. http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov... The projected damage to beaches has also proven to be largely a false alarm. http://www.aipnews.com... Projections claiming that the oil slick would creep up the east coast failed to take crucial into account crucial factors, such as the Gulf's ability to break down oil. Testing done in the "threatened" areas show an oil concentration of less than .2 parts per million -- barely above the threshold of detection.

c. Government directed cleanup efforts were badly mishandled, leading to far more damage than was necessary. The Mineral Management Service (MMS), a federal regulatory body charged with overseeing safety standards and contingency plans for offshore drilling operations has an extensive 582 page report on procedures following a spill. Of course, the plan doesn't so much as *mention* protocols for a *deep-water* spill. http://www.lewrockwell.com... The number of deep-water rigs has increased nine fold in the last twenty years, yet the number of MMS inspectors has remained the same over that time period.

The Jones Act of 1920 prevented foreign oil skimming ships from working in the Gulf region. The law requires that all work ships in US waters be built in the United States and manned by American crews. http://tinyurl.com... The law can be overridden by a Presidential waiver, however, the Obama administration has opted not to do so. With help from Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, and other countries, the cleanup could be completed in three months. Currently, it is projected to take nine. http://www.examiner.com...

d. It's tragic that eleven workers died in the Deepwater Horizon incident, however, this hardly makes the case for a ban on offshore drilling. There are far more dangerous occupations, including construction work, taxi driving, power line maintenance, farming, logging and fishing. http://www.businessinsider.com... Needless to say, all of these jobs, like oil drilling, are extremely important and significant harm would result from their ban. Risky occupations usually offer higher pay to compensate for the danger involved. When workers take these jobs, they decide freely that the rewards outweigh the risks. If they believe the risk is unacceptable, they are not forced into these positions. All eliminating these jobs would do is destroy employment opportunities for those willing to take on risks for the opportunity of greater personal gain.

2. Drilling would actually decrease the amount of oil that seeps into the ocean. Oil naturally bubbles up from the ocean floor. Drilling helps to alleviate pressure. http://www.dailytech.com... On average, the amount that leaks from the ocean floor exceeds the amount spilled. The amount of seepage eliminated by drilling is far greater than the amount released by the occasional spill.

3. The United States stands to benefit economically from offshore drilling. Extremely conservative estimates by the EIA show at least 18 billion barrels of technically recoverable crude in the Gulf and off the coast of California. http://www.eia.doe.gov... At $100 per barrel, the damage done by a potential spill would have to exceed $1.8 trillion in order to make an economic case against drilling. http://www.cato.org...

The proposed six month moratorium on offshore drilling would cost in excess of $3 billion and put 12,000 workers out of a job. If the moratorium were made permanent, it would destroy upwards of 400,000 jobs. http://www.cato.org... Remember this only would impact current drilling sites. Experts estimate that by opening up additional offshore sites, 270,000 jobs would be created. http://www.heritage.org... In addition to this, the increased purchasing power, greater energy availability, and lowered price of oil would benefit other industries in ways too numerous to expound here.

4. If American companies don't drill off the coast, others will. Currently, there is an executive ban on drilling within 200 miles of American coastline, however, the ban only applies to American businesses. Foreign companies are free to do as they please. The Wall Street Journal reports Respool YPF SA, a Spanish company, will begin drilling exploratory wells just 60 miles south of Florida within the coming year. http://online.wsj.com.... China and other nations are likely to follow.

b. Not only would this make the US more dependent on oil from potentially hostile foreign governments, it would make the chances of another Deepwater Horizon type incident both more likely and more damaging. Chinese companies don't adhere to the same safety standards as American companies. http://www.ft.com... Moreover, because of the United States government's weakened diplomatic position, it would be even more impotent at collecting damages in the event of a spill.

== Conclusion ==

On balance, the economic gains from offshore drilling far exceed the dangers. The environmental issues also strongly support my case; drilling actually reduces the amount of oil that seeps into the ocean. Modern technology makes a repeat of the Deepwater incident extremely unlikely. Moreover, even if the United States chooses not to take advantage of its natural resources, other countries will, thus depriving the US of the benefits while subjecting its citizens to even greater risks.

The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 1
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Obviously not close debate. Pro had the arguments and references, and took some care with spelling grammar and formatting.

An engineering note for the potential nerds in the crowd: if the internal pressure of the BOP is 15,000 and the external pressure is 2,000, then the device must withstand 13,000 psi. If it were near the surface, the external pressure would be low, so the device would have to withstand the full 15,000 psi. It has *less* stress in deep water. Standard engineering practice is to design with a safety factor of at least two, so the BOP is probably designed to withstand 30,000 psi.

The BOP failed due to a long string of contributing events. That's the way airline crashes occur. That's why the failures are rare, and why all airline travel is not stopped after a crash.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Seriously Anacharsis? Bias much?
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Conduct: Pro, for Con posting a one-round debate.

S/G: Pro

Arguments: Pro--obviously. Con's argument was basically "anecdotal evidence + 'oil spills might happen again'". Pro was all over that, and actually made guarantees about his side of the topic.

Sources: Pro--again, this is obvious.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Protip: never start a 1 round debate.
14 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by beastboy838 6 years ago
beastboy838
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Vote Placed by Jelapago 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by Anacharsis 6 years ago
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