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#16 - Environmentalist: An increased number of oil spills

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Complete Question Explanation

Strengthen. The correct answer choice is (D)

While the stimulus here covers two questions, each of the questions focuses on a specific portion of the stimulus. This question stem deals only with the statements made by the industry representative and asks us to strengthen the representative's position. That position actually deals with two different, yet related ideas. First is the general idea that the industry should be responsible for devising its own safety standards. Second is the more specific point that the double hull is not feasible because it creates new safety issues and the cost would be burdensome. Therefore, we need to find the answer choice that does the most to strengthen either aspect of the argument.

Answer Choice (A): This answer choice seems to strengthen the environmentalist's argument that double hulls will make the tankers safer. It definitely does not strengthen the industry representative's claims.

Answer Choice (B): This answer choice has nothing to do with the main argument about what should be done and who should be taking responsibility for avoiding oil spills. This answer choice is dealing with what happens after the spill and therefore has does nothing to strengthen or weaken the industry representative's argument.

Answer Choice (C): The industry representative would definitely be against the proposed legislation, but the fact that there is such proposed legislation does nothing to affect the representative's overall argument.

Answer Choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. The fact that the double hull increases the risk of explosion directly supports the industry representative's contention that the double hull creates new safety issues.

Answer Choice (E): Again, the industry representative would argue against such legislation, but the fact that it has been enacted does nothing to affect the representative's overall argument.
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Am I correct in saying that D is actually strengthening a premise in the argument? "...because it creates new safety issues"

I was stuck between C and D because of this. Thank you
Alex Bodaken
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Thanks for the question! You are correct - you could outline the industry rep's argument as such:

Premise #1: Implementing the double-hull proposal is not currently feasible because it creates new safety issues
Premise #2: Furthermore, the cost would be burdensome to the industry and consumers.
Conclusion: The industry alone should be responsible for devising safety standards because of its expertise in handling oil and its understanding of the cost entailed.

You are right that answer choice (D) strengthens premise #1 (it shows a safety issue that could result from a proposed government regulation), thereby strengthening the industry rep's argument. Remember that strengthening a premise of the argument is absolutely one way to strengthen a conclusion.

In terms of (C), as noted above, it simply doesn't effect the argument one way or the is legislation the industry rep would oppose, but it does not effect either the industry rep's or the environmentalist's conclusions.

Hope that helps!