The Instigator
George_Bush_Rocks
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
surfride
Con (against)
Winning
28 Points

The environmentalists and the White House are to blame (not physically) for the oil spill.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/2/2010 Category: News
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 994 times Debate No: 12221
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (8)

 

George_Bush_Rocks

Pro

Environmentalists and the White House have been taking extreme action when it comes to offshore drilling. They proposed that it would be more environmentally friendly to drill five miles underwater, than in shallower areas near the coastline of the U.S. in case of an oil spill. Well guess what, there is an oil spill now and we can't do anything about it. Good job. First, the environmentalists complain that if we burn the oil away, it could cause air pollution. Second, a governor from Louisiana, I can't recall his name, proposed we should build artificially made beaches and islands to soak up all the oil, which by the way is an excellent idea, but the environmentalist and the White House think that could be environmentally harmful. So if you look closely, the environmentalists are doing more damage to the environment with their "ideas and precautions" than if we didn't consider them. They are not to blame for the oil spill actually physically happening, but could have easily prevented it from happening in the first place. Or if they had drilled somewhere closer to the coastline of the U.S., where it is more shallow, they could have easily cleaned up all the oil within a short period of time.
surfride

Con

Thank you for the debate. Already I see we are at odds from your name. . . Well on to the debate.

First, I'll address your first contention,
"Environmentalists and the White House have been taking extreme action when it comes to offshore drilling. They proposed that it would be more environmentally friendly to drill five miles underwater, than in shallower areas near the coastline of the U.S. in case of an oil spill"
I have no idea where you got this idea. Environmentalists generally oppose drilling in just about any form in the ocean, so a source would be helpful. If you're referring to the Obama decision to open offshore waters to drilling, the accident at Deepwater Horizon was not in any way related to this policy change, as it had been operating long before, and is not technically considered an "offshore" rig, due to its relatively close proximity to land.

Second. "the environmentalists complain that if we burn the oil away, it could cause air pollution."
This is true. Simply burning the oil to get rid of it will cause air pollution. While it is a bit of a toss-up as to which ultimately does more damage, burning the oil or letting it remain in the water, it seems the dominant theory is that it causes far more damage in the water than out. Once again, linking to a reputable source who opposes burning the oil would help. Also, there is not a lot of oil on the surface compared to underwater, because BP has been putting Corexit into the stream at the wellhead in order to disperse it underwater, some suspect so that it cannot be as easily seen.

Third. "a governor from Louisiana, I can't recall his name, proposed we should build artificially made beaches and islands to soak up all the oil, which by the way is an excellent idea, but the environmentalist and the White House think that could be environmentally harmful."
I believe you're thinking of Bobby Jindal. As for the plan, here's a quote: "Corps officials say they are studying the plan, but the oil spill's national incident commander Thad Allen says that plan could take months to implement and might waste time and money better expended on other projects. Corps officials say they are studying the plan, but the oil spill's national incident commander Thad Allen says that plan could take months to implement and might waste time and money better expended on other projects."
Hmmmm, so the person in charge of doing the proposed plan thinks it's something that will take a lot of time and waste a lot of money. . . And of course it's a tried and true plan, right? Oh, wait: "He faults the agency for not quickly approving his UNTESTED plan to place dozens of offshore sand barriers to block the oil before it drifts ashore." (caps mine) Although Thad Allen is in the government position of national incident commander, he has nothing to do with the environmentalists, and quite frankly all he's doing is vetoing a plan that is untested, and will most likely be a bigger failure than Top Kill.

"So if you look closely, the environmentalists are doing more damage to the environment with their "ideas and precautions" than if we didn't consider them."
I don't see a big solar plant explosion killing eleven and contaminating the air for thousands making the news. . . In addition, BP failed to take basic safety precautions on the drilling rig, and didn't install a device that would have shut down the wellhead in exactly a case like this. BP is also using a chemical, Corexit, that has many safer and less toxic alternatives, in enormous quantities.

"They are not to blame for the oil spill actually physically happening, but could have easily prevented it from happening in the first place. "
I agree with the first half of that sentence. Now tell me exactly how they could have prevented it? Tougher safety regulations aren't really possible when the MMS is smoking dope with BP execs. Environmentalists didn't insist that BP not install a safety valve. And finally, the cherry on top is that if the rig hadn't been profitable for BP, it wouldn't have been operating, so it's not as if they were "forced" to go there.

"Or if they had drilled somewhere closer to the coastline of the U.S., where it is more shallow, they could have easily cleaned up all the oil within a short period of time."

Newsflash: Deepwater Horizon was only 50 miles off the coast of the U.S. Oil companies do drill closer, and cleaning up the oil would have been easier if BP had just used a darn safety valve to begin with, and not drilled deeper than it should have.

In summary, several strawmen were demolished by my opponent, but his main point is completely unsubstantiated by fact.

http://online.wsj.com...
http://www.nytimes.com...
Debate Round No. 1
George_Bush_Rocks

Pro

George_Bush_Rocks forfeited this round.
surfride

Con

What a surprise. . . since all of my opponent's arguments have been refuted without rebuttal, as it stands there is no choice but to vote con.
Debate Round No. 2
George_Bush_Rocks

Pro

How they could have prevented it? Well you see the left decided it would be more environmentally friendly drill somewhere five miles underwater, rather than up close to the coastline. That way if there were an oil spill it would be hurtful. Which was actually what I had said before. But now we have an oil spill, and we can't do anything about because of the "ideas and precautions" of the left.

Yes, the artificial island and beaches ideas would take a lot of time and money, but how many ideas have worked so far? The top kill has failed, and pretty much every other plan. So what choice do we have? And why waste your time staging on real beaches when you could be cleaning on artificial beaches where no damage is done.

Your point: "I don't see a big solar plant explosion killing eleven and contaminating the air for thousands making the news. . . In addition, BP failed to take basic safety precautions on the drilling rig, and didn't install a device that would have shut down the wellhead in exactly a case like this. BP is also using a chemical, Corexit, that has many safer and less toxic alternatives, in enormous quantities.", I'm not sure if you thought I meant that it was actually the White House's fault physically for the oil spill, but if that were the case that would be false information. Look at the title of the debate.

How they could have prevented it? By not taking the chance of an oil spill in deep waters. If the oil spill were closer to the coastline, this problem would have been fixed a lot sooner if not already. Which you stated in your quote of me. Which seems to me doesn't make sense to you.
surfride

Con

Okay, in recapitulation: my opponent has repeatedly argued that nebulous environmentalists argued that we should drill off the coast, rather than close in, without presenting any sources that confirm this. I can't find any environmentalists that supported this either, so basically that point is false. Second, an oil spill closer to the coast would in no way minimize the damage, although it would arguably be easier to repair. However, on this first point there is absolutely no evidence that environmentalists or the white house in any way forced drilling rigs into deeper waters.

Second, my opponent has suggested that since other ideas to contain the leak have failed, we should use his. He seems to think that Jindal's artificial islands plan is the only other possible solution, and therefore that it is the best one. This is not the case. In addition, oil has already hit beaches and wetlands, so cleaning artificial beaches would be a chore on top of the already difficult cleanup of the aforementioned areas.

On the third point my opponent makes in his rebuttal I will admit that I got off topic with the solar plant snark. I did in fact get off topic, I was meaning to make a slightly different analogy but I got wrapped up. My mistake here, however, in no way detracts from the rest of my argument, nor does it lend any credibility to my opponent's theory.

Finally, pro has restated that if the spill were in shallow waters it would be easier to clean. This is in part true, but a) neither environmentalists nor the white house FORCED BP to drill where it was drilling, and b) Deepwater Horizon was actually very close to the coast- only about 50 miles away.

Unless my opponent is suggesting that harsher regulations should have been put on BP to keep it from drilling where it did, which does not at all seem the case, it can in no way be argued that environmentalists or the White House are at fault for the massive damage caused by leaking oil.

Pro has cited no sources other than his own personal opinion and hearsay, which is unfortunately inadequate for a debate setting. I believe that I have disproved his claims beyond a shadow of a doubt, although there was not much of a shadow to go beyond, as weakly supported as they were to begin with.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Yvette 6 years ago
Yvette
Pro's argument was weak, and voting down Con for not sourcing his arguments when Pro had the full burden of proof seems rather unfair. Conduct point to Con for actually listening to his opponent's arguments and because Pro forfeited a round.
Posted by surfride 6 years ago
surfride
Here's a question: How can you make a contention that is in no way common knowledge, not source it, then use it as true and call it a strong argument?
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
George, Generally it has to not only be true, you have to make a case that proves to the reader it is true. Even if the defendant is guilty, the prosecutor must prove him guilty before he is carted off to jail. Con's response was weak, so I gave you the debate.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Your references didn't seem to support your position with respect to the resolution, and in any case you didn't link them to your arguments. I don't think reading assignments are references.

I agree that Pro didn't have any references either, so that leaves the reader to rely on general knowledge about the situation. Together with the ambiguous resolution, it makes the whole debate weak. I'll admit that the environment nutcases who set up the situation really annoy me.

The ban on drilling within 50 miles of shore long predates the BP spill. "Congress first imposed a ban on offshore drilling in the early 1980s. In the 1990s, the first President Bush extended the ban for 10 years. President Clinton extended the ban again in 1998 to 2012." http://www.nctimes.com... Obama banned, he says temporarily, all offshore drilling. Governor Jindal says that will cost Louisiana 7000 jobs. Of course, the oil production lost will have to be imported via tankers.
Posted by George_Bush_Rocks 6 years ago
George_Bush_Rocks
You said most of my points in my opening statement were true, so why source it.
Posted by surfride 6 years ago
surfride
unfortunately for pro, he provided exactly zero sources to back up any of his claims. Also Roy your point about the shallow water drilling ban doesn't make sense because the ban was passed after the BP disaster and so could not possibly have had any influence on the placement of Deepwater Horizon. Also, I cited sources so I'm not sure how you can say I didn't use references. . .
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
The resolution is poorly worded. I think "to blame (not physically)" took on the meaning "bear the blame for much of the consequences" of the consequences. I'll admit that it's like reading tea leaves. Neither side used any references, which for a debate on factual issues is a major problem.

Environmentalists did indeed succeed in banning shallow water drilling, within 50 miles of the coast. They also banned lnd drilling in ANWR. Oil companies always drill where it is cheapest, so that forced deep water drilling. Note that not drilling at all means bringing oil by tankers, probably a larger hazard.

Con seemed to grant that environmentalists prevented burning, which would have been a lot better that the ocean pollution. It huge mistake to put out the original fire on the platform; the waer to douse the fire sank the platform and broke the pipe. I don't know if environmentalists were reponsible for that blunder or not.

The government has thus far decided to let Jindal build 6 of the 24 berms requested. The news tonight showed large sections of completed berm, so regardless of how long the whole job takes, environmentalists caused unnecessary delay, and they are still studying instead of acting.

Based upon broad intrpretation of the resolution, I think Pro wins Arguments. Con wins conduct for Pro's forfeit.
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by Shestakov 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by Yvette 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by surfride 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by FREEDO 6 years ago
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