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#23 - Councilperson X: We have an obligation to help ensure

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Complete Question Explanation

Point At Issue. The correct answer choice is (D)

This question is more challenging than the previous question. Councilperson X’s argument is that if a generating plant is to be built, the proposed design should be used since that design allows for the lowest rates. Councilperson Y’s argument is that the proposed design would lead to air quality so poor that it would outweigh the benefits of the lower rates. Like the previous problem, the conclusion of each speaker’s argument is critical:

    X’s conclusion: “It must be the design we endorse if we agree that we have no choice but to approve construction of a new plant.”

Y’s argument is a bit more difficult to analyze because the conclusion is left unstated. Y’s implicit conclusion is that the proposed plant design should not be used since the negatives of the proposed plant would outweigh the benefits.

Answer choice (A): This is the most attractive wrong answer, and about one in five students select this answer. Councilperson X’s statement makes it clear that there is no certainty regarding the council’s actions: “if we agree that we have no choice but to approve construction of a new plant.” Hence, X’s position on whether the council should recommend a new station is at best uncertain. The answer choice is also problematic because it does not specify the “proposed design.” Both speakers refer specifically to the new design, whereas this answer choice refers to “a new generating station” and not necessarily a new station with the proposed design.

Answer choice (B): Councilperson Y likely agrees with this statement, as indicated in the second half of Y’s first sentence. However, X’s position on this statement is uncertain (no mention of quality of life is made), so this answer is incorrect.

Answer choice (C): Similar to answer choice (B), councilperson Y agrees with this statement, as indicated in the second half of Y’s first sentence. However, X’s position on this statement is uncertain (no mention of air quality is made), and thus this answer is incorrect.

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. Using the Agree/Disagree Test, Councilperson X would agree with the statement whereas Councilperson Y would disagree with the statement.

Answer choice (E): Councilperson X agrees with this statement, as indicated in X’s second sentence. Councilperson Y’s position on this statement is less certain. Y appears to agree with the statement, although a case can be made that Y’s opening comments simply indicate that searching for low rates is not the only job the council has. Regardless, there is no disagreement present and this answer is incorrect.