Risks and Benefits Debate Teacher Sheet

Risks and Benefits Debate Teacher Sheet


To help students prepare for this debate, they should use the resources they can get to from the Oil Drilling student esheet to gather information. They can use this sheet to help guide them in their research.

In taking notes or forming statements of fact to structure your argument, they might choose to start with a position quote they are “defending” or illustrate with facts from the online resources and other research.

Risks Outweigh Benefits

Position Quote: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community.”Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac, 1949

Implication: If we accept this statement of the founding father of the conservation movement, forester Aldo Leopold, deep water drilling is not the right thing to do on environmental grounds alone—in addition to the obvious risk it poses to human life in loss of 11 BP workers. In terms of nature, deep water drilling disrupts ocean habitats, destabilizes marine mammal breeding, and fouls water quality with pollutants it releases into the water. These are not benefits to natural or human entities or pursuits. 

Supporting Websites:
 (Life Under the Sea Interactive Graphic Results of First Marine Census)

(Census Uncovers Oceans’ Deep Secrets/Survey Names More than 1,000 New Species)

(Risks of Oil and Gas Drilling)

Benefits Outweigh Risks

Position Quote: “Complex things fail in complex ways.” Conclusion of the U.S. Investigative Panel for the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, 2003

Implication: Modern complexity always brings challenges, but human ingenuity and technology can manage the challenges for the greater good of continued energy supplies to support the modern lifestyle, of job creation and the economic the vigor it brings to manufacturers, of drilling materials, and related industries, such as oil refining.


Supporting Websites:
(Benefits of Drilling for American Oil)

(Offshore Oil Drilling Might Make Environmental Sense)

(Government Set to Reveal Offshore Oil Drilling Plans)


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