The Instigator
merciless
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
twsurber
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points

Resolution: 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: 8/16/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,289 times Debate No: 12757
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (3)

 

merciless

Con

This debate is to be in public forum format. Round 2 will be speech 1. Round 3 will be crossfire 1. Round 4 will be speech 2. Round 5 will be crossfire 2. If my opponent has any questions, he/she may ask in Round 1. Pro wins by proving that the resolution is more likely to be true than false. Con wins by proving that the resolution is more likely to be false than true.
twsurber

Pro

Good jump start on the new POFO topic! Best of luck to you!

I accept the debate and will post my 1st argument in Round 2. I will be arguing the PRO side.
Debate Round No. 1
merciless

Con

Recently, President Obama issued a 6-month moratorium on deep sea drilling. I will argue that this decision is correct. It's the right decision for 3 major reasons: 1. A blowout in a deep sea rig is more devastating than a blowout in a land or shallow water rig, 2. a blowout in a deep sea rig is much more difficult to prevent and suppress, and 3. a six month moratorium provides time to develop new technology that will prevent a future oil spill.

Contention 1: A blowout in a deep sea rig is more devastating than a blowout in a land or shallow water rig
According to the Anchorage Daily News, huge submerged masses of oil, gas, and chemical dispersant have been found floating in the Gulf f Mexico. These are apparently from the Deep Water Horizon blowout. In land and shallow water rigs, a blow out would not form submerged masses. In shallow water, there is not enough pressure to keep the oil and gas underwater.
According to the Anchorage Day News, the BP blowout also created some floating dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico. Floating dead zones are areas of water that have drastically low levels of oxygen. Some apparently formed from methane from the blowout. Scientists say that at shallow depths, methane that escapes from the sea floor is sent o the surface by storms, where it dissolves into the atmosphere. At very deep depths, there is no disturbance to send methane to the surface, so it dissolves into the water and a dead zone is formed. Ecologists fear that these floating dead zones will wash over the coral in the gulf. In the Anchorage Daily News it was written, "Some research now suggests that those corals are the originals, the sources of the world's corals in shallower water -- the tropical rain forests of the sea." To make things worse, there are microbes that feed on methane in the ocean. This might sound like a good thing, but the catch is that these microbes consume twice as much oxygen as methane while feeding, augmenting the size of floating dead zones.

Contention 2: a blowout in a deep sea rig is much more difficult to prevent and suppress
With deep water drilling, water pressure produces a host of engineering challenges. According to CBS News, sunlight is unable to penetrate farther than 1,500 feet below the surface, which means that it's very cold. 5,000 feet below the surface, the pressure is 2,300 pounds per square inch, enough to crush a submarine. That means that rigs have to be designed to withstand high pressure. Blowout preventers have to be designed to withstand high pressure. If things go wrong and the company has to make repairs, they have to use robot submersibles with a flashlight. The pressure increases the chance of a leak tremendously. At such depths, when a blowout happens, methane rising to the surface converts to a gaseous state under less pressure. It gains tremendous force, similar to steam from boiling water. That is probably what killed 11 workers on the Deep Water Horizon rig. Later, BP tried to cover the ruptured well with a cap that transferred the oil to a tanker. It failed because an icy slush had clogged the pipes that connected the well to the tanker.

Since I'm down on time, I will discuss my 3rd contention in my 2nd speech.

Sources:
http://www.cbsnews.com...
http://www.adn.com...
http://articles.latimes.com...
twsurber

Pro

Opponents C-1:
It is not accurate to say that one oceanic ecological disaster is worse than a landbased ecological disaster because the damage is measured in different terms. Granted, we would rather that there be no oil spills of any type. To say that one is more devastating depends upon the measuring stick that is used, and to whom the effects are valued.

Opponent's C-2:
To some extent, I concur. There are additional challenges and difficulties incurred by oceanic oil retrieval. Humans cannot breath underwater for the necessary periods of time without special and often cumbersome equipment. Further, equipment needed to work in saltwater is likely to need additional care or precaution that isn't necessary in a waterless environment.

However, I extend my first arguement that suppressing a spill can be equally daunting on land. Oil seeping into the ground can cause tons of earth removal before all drinking water and crops are cleared to consume.

MY POSITIONS:

C-1: Oil rig accidents are the exception, not the norm
Millions of barrels of oil have been safely produced and used by consumers. There is very little fuss when things are running smoothly. From the inception of offshore drilling, there are comparatively fewer accidents in days of operation versus days of accidents.

C-2: Americans are dependent upon oil
From gasoline to heating oil to other petroleum based products, Americans are hopelessly mired in dependence upon this fossil fuel. Are we trying hard and working diligently to develop alternative sources? Sure, but until we do, we will continue to need oil. Oil is available in Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska. Oil can be purchased from foreign countries as we well know. Another source to meet this dependence is to be more self sufficient, and retrieve oil from under the ocean. It is there, it is available, and we have the technology to retrieve it.

Summary: I have demonstrated that offshore oil drilling IS in the best interest of the United States. Not only is it practical, it is necessary.

As my opponent only cited 2 contentions, I will resond accordingly, and reserve the right to post an additional contention in a latter round.

Thank you!
Debate Round No. 2
merciless

Con

In the last round, my opponent has posted both his first speech and rebuttals to my points. This doesn't really follow the format. I don't know what Lincoln Douglas debate format looks like, but in Public Forum, you are supposed to say only your first speech when you first speak. The rebuttals are reserved for the second speech.

Since this round is a crossfire, I will post a list of questions that my opponent will answer the next time he posts his arguments.

1. Where are your sources? They are not listed and therefore cannot be viewed by the public.

2. Is there more than one way to measure ecological damage? Please explain.

3. Sure, oil spills are the exception, not the norm. But how devastating are these exceptions? Exxon Valdez and the recent BP blowout sure did a lot of damage.

4. The last 2 oil spills I mentioned were both marine oil spills. Everyone knows about these. Very few know about oil spills on land. Isn't it correct assume that marine oil spills are more devastating than land spills?

5. Oil is used only as a fuel for vehicles. Some countries in South America have an alternative fuel that comes from a crop. Are Americans hopelessly dependent on oil?
twsurber

Pro

1. I have not cited any sources at this juncture

2. In the ocean the primary concerns deal with interruption of the natural food chain, and the fishing industry. On land, we are dealing primarily with soil and drinking water contamination, and to a lesser extent, the natural food chain. While devastating to the coastal areas, people can live without fish. Yet people affected by the land spill would have to move to a place with no contamination or have water shipped in.

3. I concur that Exxon Valdez & the BP spill were devastating. Yet, how many millions of barrels of oil have been produced and consumed without accidents? Quite a lot.

4. Devastating yes, but it's hard to say whether they were more devastating. To a cattle rancher the oceanic spills may not really matter. To a member of a fishing crew, the loss would be catastrophic, and vice versa.

5. At this point, yes, we are hopelessly dependent upon oil. Oil is refined and made into a variety of products such as heating oil, gasoline, jet fuel, lubricants, diesel, and even household items such as trash bags and vaseline.

I will ask my crossfire questions based upon my opponent's next position. Thanks.
Debate Round No. 3
merciless

Con

twsurber, you were supposed to post your crossfire questions in round 3.
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Based on my opponents answers to my questions in round 3, he doesn't know that land spills are usually localized, thus preventing serious damage. An oceanic spill can't be easily localized. The oil spreads to multiple states and regions, devastating the ecological balance in a wide area. Thus, an oceanic spill is much more ecologically devastating than a land spill. My opponent points out that a land spill would affect a local cattle rancher a lot. I point out that there would be at most 1 cattle rancher affected by a land spill. With an oceanic spill, hundreds of fishermen's jobs are destroyed. Thus, an oceanic spill is much more economically devastating than a land spill.

My opponent says that even though BP and Exxon Valdez were devastating, millions of barrels are still produced without accidents. Yes, but thousands of days have gone by without another 9/11. There is still airport security because another 9/11 can happen at any moment. My opponents argument isn't valid because there is always a risk of major disasters happening. Security is to decrease that risk. And so is that 6-month moratorium.

Oil is used for a lot of things in the Unite States, but that doesn't mean there is no alternative. I've already stated ethanol as a reasonable alternative. There is also vegetable oil and animal fat.

Therefore, I urge a Con ballet.
twsurber

Pro

I concur that ocean spills are not easily contained, that was never in question.

Comparing 9/11 to an oil spill is a poor example. 9/11 was done intentionally and with planning. Oil spills are generally accidents or the result of equipment failure.

I never stated that we had no alternatives to oil, I implied that at present, oil is the primary source of fuel and lubricants in America.

Now, I think that we have chased enough rabbits down multiple tangents, what say we try to get back to the resolution?

Facts:
1) America uses millions of barrels of oil.
2) America presently does not produce enough to meet the need.
3) America presently does not have enough alternative energy to replace oil.
4) America purchases millions of barrels of oil at a high price.
5) America has the equipment and technology to drill offshore.

The 6 month moratorium is a good idea in the interest of safety. I concur that wells should be inspected, and emergency procedures should be in place to prevent an ecological disaster.

With the above in mind, as well as my opponent's arguments, there remains a need or in terms of economics, a demand. There is oil available, thus, a supply. If we have oil, which we do, it makes sense to retrieve it, and use it.

Doing so:
1. creates jobs
2. reduces our dependence upon foreign oil
3. helps fill a crucial need

Therefore: Allowing deep water offshore oil drilling IS in the best interest of the United States.

Thanks
Debate Round No. 4
merciless

Con

For crossfire 2, I will ask my opponent the following questions:

1. Explain how allowing 9/11 to happen was any different than allowing the BP blowout to happen.
2. Explain why America can't switch from petroleum to ethanol and/or another alternative. There are alternative fuels and plastic making products.
3. On the Deep Water Horizon rig, all 3 blowout preventers failed. If a couple malfunctioned, that can be explained, but all 3 failed. There are apparently major flaws in the blowout preventers. How do we know this doesn't apply to all rigs? With this disaster occurring, how can anyone say that America has adequate equipment and technology to drill offshore?
4. All rigs have been inspected before. All rigs have emergency procedures to prevent ecological disasters. What good would reinspecting all the rigs do? What good would putting in the same emergency procedures again do? Does repetition prevent an ecological disaster?
5. You have listed 3 things that offshore drilling provides America. Can't these 3 things be provided by something else as well? Doesn't the Afghanistan War provide jobs? Doesn't drilling on land or in shallow water also reduce our dependence on foreign oil? Doesn't clean energy (like solar and wind) help fill a crucial need?
6. In my last question, I listed 3 alternatives that also provide what offshore drilling provides. I wonder why people oppose the Afghanistan War. I wonder why oil companies don't drill on land or in shallow water. I wonder why not everyone converts to clean energy.

Since my opponent gets the last word in this debate, I will answer his questions in the comments section.
twsurber

Pro

twsurber forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by twsurber 7 years ago
twsurber
1. Explain how allowing 9/11 to happen was any different than allowing the BP blowout to happen.
RESPONSE: BP WAS AN ACCIDENT, 9/11 WAS AN INTENTIONAL TERRORIST ATTACK

2. Explain why America can't switch from petroleum to ethanol and/or another alternative. There are alternative fuels and plastic making products.
RESPONSE: WE CAN, WE JUST DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH TO SWITCH IMMEDIATELY

3. On the Deep Water Horizon rig, all 3 blowout preventers failed. If a couple malfunctioned, that can be explained, but all 3 failed. There are apparently major flaws in the blowout preventers. How do we know this doesn't apply to all rigs? With this disaster occurring, how can anyone say that America has adequate equipment and technology to drill offshore?
RESPONSE: ANYTHING MAN-MADE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO WEAR OUT, BREAK, OR FAIL. PERIODIC MAINTAINENCE IS NECESSARY.

4. All rigs have been inspected before. All rigs have emergency procedures to prevent ecological disasters. What good would reinspecting all the rigs do? What good would putting in the same emergency procedures again do? Does repetition prevent an ecological disaster?
RESPONSE: SEE NUMBER 3

5. You have listed 3 things that offshore drilling provides America. Can't these 3 things be provided by something else as well? Doesn't the Afghanistan War provide jobs? Doesn't drilling on land or in shallow water also reduce our dependence on foreign oil? Doesn't clean energy (like solar and wind) help fill a crucial need?
RESPONSE: SEE NUMBER 2

6. In my last question, I listed 3 alternatives that also provide what offshore drilling provides. I wonder why people oppose the Afghanistan War. I wonder why oil companies don't drill on land or in shallow water. I wonder why not everyone converts to clean energy.
RESPONSE: SOME PEOPLE OPPOSE WAR BECAUSE THEY ARE PACIFISTS, SOME DO NOT SUPPORT THIS PARTICULAR CONFLICT. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DRILLING FOR OIL. OIL COMPANIES DRILL WHERE THE OIL IS.
Posted by Sieben 7 years ago
Sieben
<-- Petroleum Engineer.

They aren't going to come out with any revolutionary new technology. Rachael Maddow is technically correct that if they had spent money on X or Y, the disaster may not have happened. But the biggest check that failed was the judgment of drilling supervisors.

When you take a gas kick you can see it at the surface on the pressure gauge. Its a bit much to explain but everyone working on the rig, especially the supervisors, should have recognized it. We don't know why they didn't stop and open the diverter, but we do know there was internal controversy over the decision. It is most likely to simply be a rare error in judgment.
Posted by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
Post your cases first. That's what you're supposed to do in round 1. As it is, this seems like an obvious attempt to get free cases written for you.
Posted by merciless 7 years ago
merciless
same topic, different positions
Posted by Yvette 7 years ago
Yvette
You made two of the same challenge...
Posted by merciless 7 years ago
merciless
for this year
Posted by Mr_Jack_Nixon 7 years ago
Mr_Jack_Nixon
Is this the first high school PFD forensics league topic?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Irishguy2011 6 years ago
Irishguy2011
mercilesstwsurberTied
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Vote Placed by NDitter 6 years ago
NDitter
mercilesstwsurberTied
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Vote Placed by twsurber 7 years ago
twsurber
mercilesstwsurberTied
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