The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

The United States should continue with offshore oil drilling

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/29/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,858 times Debate No: 13826
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (3)




The first round will be for definitions, observations and introductions. Constructive arguments will be introduced in the second round. Refutation and extensions are for the third and fourth round.

I recently debated gavin.ogden and enjoyed it thoroughly. I would like to debate him again, but with a resolution of my choosing.


I would like to sincerely thank RougeFox for the opportunity to debate again. The first debate was very enjoyable, but was on a topic of my choosing. I look forward to the opportunity to debate such an important topic with such a worthy opponent. I accept the organization of the rounds, and will start with definitions.

Should-ought (to be or do something); Indicates that the subject of the sentence has some obligation to execute the sentence predicate
Continue-do something repeatedly and showing no intention to stop
Offshore oil drilling-Offshore drilling typically refers to the discovery and development of oil and gas resources which lie underwater through drilling a well. Most commonly, the term is used to describe oil extraction off the coasts of continents, though the term can also apply to drilling in lakes and inland seas.

My opponent assumes burden of proof here, and I will provide evidence that offshore drilling is not only dangerous and expensive, but also puts our environment, animals, jobs, and ourselves at great risk. I will also illustrate other energy sources to alleviate our need for crude petroleum products, in which case there would be absolutely no need for offshore drilling. I will hold my arguments and sources for my next round, as my esteemed opponent will start what I am sure will be a memorable debate. Good luck to RougeFox, and may the best arguments win.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

As a brief roadmap, I will center the debate on two broad topics


America's dependence on foreign oil is a bad thing. According to David Sandalow [1], assistant secretary of energy for policy and international affairs, and former senior fellow of the Brookings Institute, dependence on foreign oil does three things. First, it strengthens Al-Queda and other Islamic terrorist groups because "By making us central players in a region torn by ancient rivalries, oil dependence has exposed us to resentment, vulnerability and attack . . . Today, deep resentment of the U.S. role in the Persian Gulf remains a powerful recruitment tool for Islamic fundamentalists . . . To protect oil flows, the U.S. policymakers will feel compelled to maintain relationships and exert power in the region in ways likely to fuel Islamic terrorists." Clearly, the fact that the means the United States must use to gain oil are being used as recruiting tools for terrorists. Second, dependence on foreign oil gives oil-exporting nations power. These countries do not always have the United States best interest in mind. ". . . rising oil prices enhance the wealth and power of those who wish us ill, putting all Americans at risk." Third, oil dependence is harmful to our troops. He points to the fact that troops in oil convoys are at risk for attack. Fourth, oil dependence undermines democracy. Foreign nations gain wealth because the United States buys oil. This corrupts them, and it causes a shift to a more authoritarian government. Clearly, dependence on foreign oil is a bad thing.
Offshore drilling will help solve the problem of foreign dependency. According to Cambridge Energy[2], deep water areas of the Gulf of Mexico would produce 800,000 barrels of oil a day and help stabilized oil prices. Offshore drilling is also the only means to increase the domestic supply of oil, according to the Energy Information Service[3]. Offshore oil drilling is becoming more economically feasible because of new technology and rising prices. According to the United States Department of the Interior, specifically, the Minerals Management Services[4], an increase from 3 deep-water offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico to 36 deep-water offshore oil rigs increased from 1992 to 2008.
If offshore drilling is banned in the United States, U.S. importation of oil would greatly increase, increasing the dependency on foreign oil. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar[5] said offshore drilling is a necessary part of the United States energy policy. He estimates that 30% of the United States' oil production comes from the Gulf of Mexico alone. Clearly, offshore drilling needs to continue because it provides much of the United States' domestic oil.

In summary, when you consider that the U.S. already imports a little more than half (51%) of its oil, and 30% of the domestic oil comes from offshore drilling alone, offshore drilling is the only effective way to reduce dependency.


According to the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration[6], daily production of oil from offshore wells in the lower 48 states will rise by 40% from 2010 to 2035. This would be a significant increase in domestic oil production which would not only help stabilize the price, but it would also decrease dependency. Offshore oil drilling already provides a significant amount of our domestic oil (30% in the Gulf of Mexico alone) and since it is projected to increase, it will provide even more of our oil and become an even more significant factor in the price of oil. Also, according to Dr. David Kreutzer, a ban on drilling would increase costs of imported oil by $737 billion. Clearly, the price increase should be avoided which is why drilling must continue.

According to Andrew J. Hoffman and Thomas P. Lyon[7], offshore drilling has the very important economic benefit of taking money from foreign investors and essentially giving it to western oil companies. This money benefits the investors in oil companies and overall, the public. It will also lower the amount of funding that terrorist groups receive.
There are many jobs that come from offshore oil drilling. According to a study by Dr. Joseph R. Mason[8], there are several ways in which offshore drilling supports local economies. He says that the following phases of drilling provide jobs: Exploratory drilling and the development of offshore facilities, the extraction process, and the refining of the crude oil. He also says that, since the refining of oil occurs in other areas besides the local, which affects even more economies. In Louisiana, based on statistics from 2005 figures estimate 15.4% of total household earnings can be traced back to those jobs, which amounts to approximately $12.7 billion dollars.
Dr. Mason also provided estimations regarding the effects of the 6 month oil moratorium. Conservatively, he provides the following: in economies near the Gulf Coast, upwards of 8,169 jobs are expected to be lost and more than 12,046 jobs will be lost nationwide. Dr. Mason estimates that between $65 to $135 million in wages will be lost per month, which is $487 in lost wages in the Gulf region, and $707 million nationwide. He also estimates the following losses in tax revenue: $219 million in federal tax and $97 million in lost state and local tax revenue in Louisiana. This decrease in revenue will greatly affect the services provided by the government. Keep in mind that the study by Dr. Mason was an estimation for a six-month moratorium. If there were a permanent ban on offshore drilling, there could be a much greater impact on the economy.

I will review by stating my main points and their impacts. Dependency is decreased by offshore drilling, and it would be increased if offshore drilling were decreased. Dependency has several impacts, which are that it strengthens terrorist groups, it undermines the United State's power, it puts troops in harm's way, and it undermines Democracy. The economic impacts are huge. Offshore drilling decreases prices, helps investors, and provides many, vital jobs. Thus, I urge a pro vote.



Thank you, RougeFox, for an impressive second round. As I expected, my opponent has given a worthy argument, however I will rebut and show how off shore drilling should be tapered(as opposed to continuing), and perhaps stopped altogether.
My opponent starts with quoting the assistant secretary of energy. This is not the most reliable source, especially when he is making comments on terrorism. This gentleman is not even the secretary of energy. He is the assistant. Also, this man is clearly stating opinions on a subject that he is NOT an expert. Therefore, his quotes are not valid.
Please keep in mind that this debate is not about the dependence on foreign oil, but offshore drilling itself.
My opponent states that offshore drilling will stabilize gas prices, however that is not the case. Studies have shown that continuing with the current levels of offshore drilling would not stabilize gas prices until 2030. One of the reason we should taper offshore drilling, is to explore cleaner, cheaper, safer means of energy which are already becoming reality. By 2030, with the proper funding and support, these energy sources can overtake crude petroleum products. In fact, one of my opponent sown sources ends with the good doctor describing his electric car, and how the technology is becoming more widely available.
Before I start on viable replacement energy sources, I would like to point out the many dangers to our environment that offshore drilling presents. I think we are all well aware of the BP nightmare of late, so I will not focus on that. No reason to beat a dead horse. I'm not sure if people are aware of the inherent pollution caused by offshore drilling. offshore drilling rigs produce routine pollution "in the form of drilling muds and cuttings, produced waters, workover fluids, deck drainage, air emissions from the rig machinery and support vessels, as well as large amounts of trash."
In the drilling process, the drilling fluid is used to lubricate the drill bit as it drills through the layer of hard rock of the outer continental shelf. A toxic soup is formed when the fluid blends with rock, mud, and naturally occurring radioactive materials, which can spread at the minimum of a thousand meters from the rigs.
These drilling muds and cuttings as well as the produced waters contain, according to the EPA: arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, barite, chrome lignosulfate, petroleum hydrocarbons, vanadium, copper, aluminum, chromium, zinc, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, radionuclides, and other heavy metals. All of these chemicals pose a threat to the area surrounding the rigs for as many as forty years. Such threats are affecting the quality of the marine water, harming the organisms that stay on the bottom of the ocean, and, ultimately, having negative impacts throughout the region, which includes changes in the abundance richness and diversity of the marine life from both the physical and toxic effects.
Oil and grease, ethylbenzene, napthalene, toluene, and zinc are included in the category of workover fluids, with restrictions only having an effect on the dumping of the oil and grease.
Draining of oil, grease, drilling fluids, lubricants, ethylene, fuels, surfacants, biocides, detergents, corrosion inhibitors, bleach, cleaning solvents, coagulants, as well as other chemicals off of the rig deck has a disastrous affect on the surrounding marine environment.
For every well that is drilled, about 8,000 square feet can be covered by as much as a meter thick of drilling waste, which can remain in the environment for at least two years. If the mud were to get scattered, by a hurricane for example, the waste could ultimately last for as long as forty years. Around an exploratory well that belonged to Chevron, inspectors discovered that shovels, bags, pipes, tubing, hose, and many other forms of debris covered more than three acres.
The effects of offshore drilling are not simply felt by the surrounding environment, but also by the marine life. These effects have damaging consequences for our fisheries, food chain, balance of the ecosystem, health, and the enjoyment that we find in the diversity of nature. One compelling fact is that the federal government allows the "taking" (killing) of marine life during the drilling for oil and gas, which in return, has negative effects on various marine mammals, including manatees and dolphins. Furthermore, the extent that contaminants can amplify and bioaccumulate is unknown, and the lack of knowledge in this area has an ensuing impact on many of the marine mammals.
One particular example of the effects that these rigs pose to the marine life that inhabits the waters around them, is the sea turtle. When sea turtles come in contact with weathered oil, they become infertile. Moreover, sea turtles are attracted to light, and the lights that are situated on the rigs pose a risk to the hatchlings, for they would be drawn towards the rigs where predator fish could be hiding. It is evident that the offshore rigs are harmful to marine life, and this one example illustrates that they do more harm than good for the environment.
Economically, offshore oil drilling is already proving to be an economic catastrophe. The price of real estate properties around the Gulf of Mexico has been projected to fall up to 10 percent -- erasing some $4.3 billion in value -- Bloomberg noted recently.
One Wall Street analyst has a very dire projection about the economic effects of the BP oil spill. David Kotok, the co-founder and chief investment officer of Cumberland Advisors, a Sarasota, Florida-based investment advisory firm, has projected that the spill will cost 1 million permanent jobs in the next five years. Also, this does not include the billions of dollars that BP is going to have to pay in reparations. According to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll, 8 in 10 Americans think that the Gulf oil spill will damage the economy and push up commodity prices. States are now suffering because of the BP spill. Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi are hit by oil slicks that are devastating their fisheries and tourism. This is bound to happen again, if we continue offshore drilling.
I'm sorry I must end my round, but in my next round, I will give descriptions of several alternate energy sources, which are absolutely viable.
As always, I appreciate my opponent bringing this very important subject to the surface, and look forward to his third round.

Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for his wonderful second round. I will begin by defending my own case, and then moving on to his.

====My Own Case=====
David Sandalow specifically deals with "energy for policy and international affairs" so his specifically looks at how energy affects foreign affairs. He is also on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, so I think that he is an extremely reliable source.

My point regarding dependency was that offshore drilling would provides solvency for dependency and prevents dependency from growing. I showed how the United States gets 30% of its domestic oil from offshore drilling alone and how offshore drilling reduces dependence. Since offshore drilling will reduce dependency; it should continue.

In my second point, I was referring to oil barrel prices, not gas prices. Oil is used for much more than just glass, including plastic. My opponent also has not yet refuted my points regarding the jobs offshore oil drilling provides.

====My Opponent's Case====
My opponent begins by stating that other energy sources will overtake crude petroleum products. I first, would like to know the specific source(s) for this and, second, why can't other energy sources be explored while offshore drilling is occurring. If he cannot answer these questions then we must not look to this point.

My opponent has focused in the second round mainly on the environmental effects of offshore drilling. I will show how these effects are not as bad as they seem. He states that there is a lot of pollution inherently caused by offshore drilling. However, the pollution will occur even if offshore drilling does not occur.

1) Natural Seepage already occurs, offshore oil drilling relieves this.
According to Bruce Allen of the American Heritage Foundation, there are environmental and economical benefits to offshore drilling[1]. He points to the fact that natural seepage already occurs, and that through offshore oil drilling the flow of this seepage is decreased because oil-field pressure is relieved. A decrease in the seepage of the oil has several environmental and economical impacts. Cleaner water and a lightened impact of this seepage on wildlife are two environmental impacts. The lessening of seeping oil will help to clean up beaches, which will increase the value of property in beachfront areas, which clashes with my opponent's point about negative effects on the economy. The seepage is also widespread, Bruce Allen's research shows that the natural oil seeps in the ocean floor are leaking 70,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil into California's coastal waters every year along an 80-mile stretch of the state's shoreline. This research shows that offshore drilling can, in fact, help the environment. My opponent's points about the oil's effects on wildlife must not be looked to because oil will seep without drilling, causing these same effects.

My opponent points to the fact that marine life, namely sea turtles, are attracted to the lights on the rig. The same effect is caused by cities and their lights. Should we not have cities on the beach?

My opponent points to facts about the economical impacts of the BP oil spill. However, because of the economical impact of jobs that offshore drilling provides, in the long term, the economic impact from discontinuing offshore oil drilling is worse than the oil spill. He says that another spill is bound to happen, but there are new safety regulations and better enforcement of these regulations, so it is not "bound to happen again".

With some of the space I have left, I will show how the oil spill was not that bad.
According to an article by The Energy Tribune[3], natural seepage has been occurring throughout history and it impacts the environment as much as the oil spill. According to Alun Lewis, a U.K.-based consultant who is considered a leading authority on oil spill dispersants, there will no effects of the oil spill next year. According to an article by The Guardian, most of the oil evaporated, and the effect on the environment is minimal[4]. According to Dr. James Carafano and Jack Spencer of the American Heritage Foundation, new response techniques would minimize the effects of future spills[5].

I will address alternative energy sources when they are posted.

In summary, the resolution should be affirmed for the following reasons:
1. I have shown that offshore drilling has positive environmental benefits so my opponent's points about the environment do not stand
2. I have shown that the points about the economy do not stand, and my points about the impacts on jobs outweigh the negative impacts of spills
3. I have shown that the BP Oil Spill did not have extremely negative effects, and how future spills would not have large effects.

Thus, this debate should be affirmed.

[2] (summarizes some of the points in the documentary)


As expected, RougeFox does not disappoint in his previous round. Another well argued round, however, I intend to quickly put one argument to rest. My opponent says the BP spill was not much worse than natural seepage, and in fact claims that offshore drilling actually has a positive effect. While this would be fantastic, it is not true, and I will use common sense to prove it.
This natural seepage has been occurring for years, right? Of course it has, however, it has not caused hundreds of thousands of Americans to be out of work, and certainly does not cost billions of dollars in economic hardship. To say that the spill was not bad, would basically nullify any oil spill that has ever occurred. This type of thinking is not only false, but dangerous as well. It is common knowledge that crude oil is a negative environmental factor, but if the mentality were to shift, I fear our environment would be put in great peril.
My opponent would have you believe that America should decrease its dependence on foreign oil, using offshore drilling. First, there is no proof that this decreases our dependence on foreign oil, as these companies keep massive stockpiles of crude. Second, the whole purpose of this debate is offshore drilling, not dependence on foreign oil. My point is that we need to discontinue offshore drilling, and focus on smarter, cheaper, cleaner fuel for the future of our country and our planet. I promise you, there are more than enough jobs to go around in clean energy, so the jobs created by offshore drilling can be offset following its demise. Fossil fuels are finite, so if we continue drilling, they WILL run out. Then what? Why would we not be proactive in tapering oil use?
This should not even be a debate between two intelligent men, but between big oil companies and the consumers who are being taken advantage of. Offshore drilling is great for oil companies, and bad for people, nature, animals, jobs, and our economy. The worst part is that these companies have people advocating their shortfalls with debates such as this one.
While I certainly respect my opponent and his opinions, I believe the voters are smart enough to realize these points:

1. Offshore drilling is certainly NOT good for the environment, and any statement to the contrary should be made only in jest.

2. We have not begun to see the long term dangers this can present, and there is no reason why we ever should.

3. We are technologically advanced to the point where we don't have to rely on fossil fuels anymore(or near as much), so there is no NEED to continue this process.(see definition of 'should')

In summation of this round, I ask the readers to use logic. As you can see, I have cited no sources in this round. There is a reason for that. We are smart enough to know that oil is bad for the environment. We don't need stats for that anymore. Also, my opponent bears burden of proof, and at this point I feel as though the BOP cannot be met. I still have a fourth round, but until then, I look forward to my opponent's final argument.
Debate Round No. 3


I would like to thank my opponent for a spectacular debate round.

I will begin with the reasons why I think that the voters should affirm the resolution.

1. Dependency. The United States already depends too much on foreign oil, and, for the reasons I stated in my 1st round, dependency is bad. If we stop offshore drilling, which accounts for 30% of our domestic oil, we will become even more dependent. If we continue, we will prevent dependency.

2. Economy and Jobs. My opponent has not really refuted this point effectively. I showed how many jobs that are provided from offshore drilling jobs, specifically, in the Gulf of Mexico. These jobs are extremely important, and many people along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico will be affected if offshore drilling were discontinued.

3. Environment. I provided sources on how offshore drilling helps improve the environment. If oil is naturally seeping, it doesn't make sense to waste a limited natural resource.

I would like to briefly respond to my opponent's points.

1. Offshore drilling is not good for the environment. I showed how in some ways, it is good. Also, it is not very bad. Even with the large BP oil spill, I provided sources showing that the impact was smaller than most perceive and the oil evaporated and dispersed rapidly.

2. Long Term Dangers. Previous oil spills have not had devastating long-term effects. Also, most of the oil evaporated and dissipated so the damage has already been done.

3. We are technologically advanced. This claim really needs some sources. If we were really technologically advanced enough to rely on fossil fuels, why do we use them so much? Why is oil in such high demand if we don't need it? Do we not need gas. Do we not need plastic? If we do not need oil, then why do we use so much? ( see ). We, right now, are dependent on oil, and we need to harness as much of it as we can. We can't discontinue because alternative energy sources are not viable and my opponent has not provided any. He can't in his final round because I would not be able to refute it.

I would also like to clarify that alternative energies are not mutually exclusive. That is, we can still drill offshore while researching alternative energy sources.

I think I have met my burden of proof because I have showed how offshore drilling has many more benefits than negative effects. It helps solve dependency, it provides jobs and employment, it can help the environment, and it is necessary for us to use oil.

I would like to again thank my opponent for this debate.

Vote Pro!


Once again, RougeFox puts forward an outstanding argument for affirmation. I thank him for the time and effort put in to debate this important topic with me.
In response, I would like to simply make the following points:

1. My opponent makes an argument that we should not waste seepage. That is fine. I would even agree with that, but offshore drilling is not required to capture seepage. Therefore, the argument is not valid.

2. My opponent claims I need sources for our declining need for crude oil. I already cited his very own source, so it is completely admissible in this round. His source, a doctor in the field I might add, raved about his electric infused car. He claimed he hardly ever had to convert over to gas, and finally exclaimed that they are a thing of the near future. I believe this absolutely affirms the declining need for crude oil.

3. I never said anything about not still using or needing oil. I simply am saying that offshore drilling is not necessary to meet our needs, and is only hindering our future, and our children's future unnecessarily.

4. While we can certainly research alternative energy while offshore drilling, I am simply answering my opponent's argument for the need to continue offshore drilling. If the money were not spent on offshore drilling, and converted to alternative energy, it would eventually make up much more than the 30% my opponent argues so admirably for. Why wait? That is argument against supporting offshore drilling.

I feel like my argument is sufficient for a con vote. RougeFox has proved, once again, to be a remarkable opponent. Thanks again. I hope it was enjoyable for the readers as well.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by gavin.ogden 5 years ago
No matter, a draw would suit me just fine. That was a great debate, RougeFox. We need to try another one soon.
Posted by RougeFox 5 years ago
It was a good debate but I'm surprised about lack of any votes too
Posted by gavin.ogden 5 years ago
I thought that was a really good debate. I'm surprised, not one vote...
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
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