Main Point. The correct answer choice is (D)
This stimulus contains an editorial about the fishing town of Redhook, and a dam on the Smithfield River proposed by the residents of this coastal community. The editorialist notes that the annual flood costs Redhook $3 million, and that the proposed dam would cost $5 million. The editorialist argues against the dam, noting that it would prevent nutrients from flowing from the river into the ocean, which would lead local fish to feed elsewhere. This loss of these fish, the editorialist argues, would cost Redhook $10 million, so damming the river would be misguided:
- Premise: The annual flood costs the community $3 million annually.
Premise: The dam would cost $5 million
Premise: The dam-caused lack of local fish would cost the community an additional $10 million.
Conclusion: Damming the river would be a misguided course of action.
The question stem asks for the main conclusion of the editorial’s argument. This answer can be prephrased:
- “This position (that it is advisable to dam the river) is misguided.”
Answer choice (A): This answer choice advocates the dam, so it cannot reflect the editorialist’s conclusion referenced above.
Answer choice (B): If the fish have the option of feeding elsewhere, as asserted in the stimulus, then the Smithfield’s nutrients must not be absolutely essential to their population. Further, the main conclusion concerns the dam, which is not even mentioned in this answer choice. This information would only serve as a premise to support the main conclusion of the stimulus, which is that the dam should not be built.
Answer choice (C): While this answer choice ultimately reaches the same conclusion as the editorial writer (that the dam should not be built), it does so based on a different premise. The editorial cites the impact on the local fish population, while this answer choice cites the high construction cost.
Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. This choice states that building the dam would be a mistake, reflecting the conclusion as prephrased above.
Answer choice (E): The cost of the annual flood is uncontested, so this answer choice is accurate according to the stimulus, but it is a premise, rather than the conclusion, of the editorialist’s argument.