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Debating US Ocean Policy

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1 Debating US Ocean Policy
The High School Policy Debate Topic Hays Watson

2 14-15 Resolutional Wording
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its non-military exploration and/or development of the Earth’s oceans.

3 Why Debate US Ocean Policy?
Importance to Life on Earth Importance to the Economy Importance to the Military Importance to the Environment Importance to Culture/People

4 Have We Debated Oceans Before?
Yes, the high school policy debate topic in 2003 dealt with US ocean policy as well: Resolved: The United States federal government should establish an ocean policy substantially increasing protection of marine natural resources.

5 Why Debate Oceans in ‘14-15? Ocean policy is a salient issue – 50% of the worlds population lives on the coast, melting ice caps and rising sea levesls, Hurricane Katrina and the Pacific Tsunami, the BP oil spill have all grabbed the headlines in recent years Ocean policy affects us all - global warming, coastal development, global trade flows, deep sea exploration, energy resources, legal regimes/clarification, tourism, recreation, scientific research, naval applications, food, agriculture/aquaculture, etc.

6 What is US Ocean Policy? Congress has played an important role in the formation of US ocean policy Stratton Commission report entitled "Our Nation and the Sea“ led to the The Marine Resources and Engineering Development Act --Two federal agencies were created who are tasked with overseeing US ocean policy (NOAA and EPA - more later) --9 major pieces of legislation affecting marine resource management, esp. including the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act --Oceans Act of 2000 under Bush - established the US Commission on Ocean Policy

7 What is US Ocean Policy? Presidents, including Obama, have taken executive actions to shape US Ocean Policy National Ocean Policy (Exec Order 13547) - Obama National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan Ocean Action Plans (Bush et al) US Commission on Ocean Policy Various executive agencies

8 What is the USFG’s Role? The federal agencies involved in US Ocean Policy include: the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, U.S. Navy, Office of Naval Research, Department of Energy, Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (former Minerals Management Service), Department of State, Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard, The White House Office of Management and Budget, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation

9 Role of International Law
US ocean policy is also heavily influenced by international treaties and international law The most notable example of how international law impacts US ocean policy is the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS or LOST) The United States hasn’t ratified it –we pledge to follow the treaty’s mandates without binding ourselves to do so through law It’s the culmination of hundreds of years of “freedom of the seas” concepts, old treaties, and international talks

10 Other Actors in US Ocean Policy
Non-governmental actors (NGOs) – Oceana, Pew Oceans Commission, Bluewater Network, Conservation International serve as important stakeholders in the formulation of US Ocean Policy through research, lobbying, PR campaigns Private sector – businesses with interests tied to oceans (shipping, energy, tourism, etc.) also play a vital role in the development of US ocean policy Citizens – local/municipal groups, protests, consumer product choices (e.g. Tuna/whaling) also shape policy

11 Word Association – Oceans
What comes to mind when you hear oceans? Divide up into groups of 5 and brainstorm a list of 5 things that your group thinks of when you hear “oceans” Take 5 minutes to come up with your list Come up with a mix of popular cultural references as well as debate-specific references to oceans

12 Part 2 – take a short break

13 What about the topic? The background of US ocean policy helps us predict the likely ways in which this year’s topic will be debated There are parts of this year’s resolutional wording that are MORE important than others in dictating the content of this year’s debates – affirmatives, negative arguments, etc. Topicality will be discussed more in-depth within your particular labs, but a short discussion of key terms in the resolution will help us understand the topic

14 Importance of Development
“Development”will serve as the central focus of most debates on this year’s topic Term is broad enough to encompass MANY things implicating US ocean policy, permitting Affirmatives lots of creativity For example, here’s an authoritative definition: The broad objectives of ‘ocean development’ have been laid down by Parliament in the Ocean Policy Statement of November The domain of our concern for development of oceanic resources and its environment extends from the coastal lands and islands lapped by brackish water to the wide Indian Ocean. The ocean regime is to be developed in order to: (i) explore and assess living and non-living resources; (ii) harness and manage its resources (materials, energy and biomass) and create additional resources such as mariculture; (iii) cope with and protect its environment (weather, waves and coastal front); (iv) develop human resources (knowledge, skill and expertise), and (v) play our rightful role in marine science and technology in the international arena.

15 “Development” continued
Marine resources includes energy (oil, gas), minerals, fish, water, agriculture/aquaculture, etc. Development likely also includes coastal development, e.g. protecting coastlines against sea level rise…or building walls to protect us from the Kaiju Clarification of legal uncertainty (what does the CZMA cover, how far does Obama’s executive order go, etc.) also seems to be a potential area for “development” Anything that “exploits” the ocean likely is considered ocean “development”

16 Importance of Exploration
Likely to be a less popular option that development for most affirmatives Exploration likely implicates development – why do we want to explore the oceans? To develop/exploit something there Most definitions seem to conclude that observation and discovery are examples of exploration Whether oceanic research is topical is up for debate – most definitions I’ve found are split on the issue Most likely to produce weirdness – Sea Colonies, etc.

17 Importance of “Non-Military”
“Non-military” seems to be clearly intended to preclude affirmative teams from claiming specific military power-based advantages Building aircraft carriers, redeploying icebreakers, nuclearizing subs, etc. all seem to violate “non-military” The best and most authoritative definitions define non-military as “civilian” or “private sector” assets, which excludes assets that are involved in combat missions (i.e. the Navy)

18 What do “Oceans” refer to?
Common definition: “the whole body of salt water which covers nearly three fourths of the surface of the globe.” What are the oceans of the Earth? Name them. Sometimes used synonymously with “seas” – interesting question – is the Mediterranean Sea an “ocean”? Does it include lakes? What about “underground oceans”? What about coastlines?

19 Likely Harm/Impact Areas
The development/environment nexus will be a central question in many debates on this years topic…development = exploit, exploit = harmful to oceans Exploration could either enable exploitation of the ocean OR enable protection of the ocean Economy, energy, military, food production, water resources, climate issues, soft power/diplomacy, international law, international hotspots (i.e. Arctic), and many more will be popular harm areas on the topic

20 Popular Affirmatives Energy and resource “development” affirmatives will likely be the most popular – oil, gas, fishing, etc. There will be a fair share of climate-related development affs (geoengineering, climate mitigation construction, etc.) Affirmatives that clarify legal uncertainty will also be common Exploration is the wild-card – could be straight forward (deep sea exploration, tsunami monitoring) or wacky (Flight 370, Sea Colonies, etc.)

21 OCS Drilling Affirmative
Where is the outer continental shelf? “All submerged lands, its subsoil, and seabed that belong to the United States and are lying seaward and outside of the states' jurisdiction”…includes Gulf of Mexico, Pacific, Atlantic, and Alaskan areas Why drill for oil in US oceans? LOTS of oil…potentially hundreds of billions of barrels in the OCS Benefits? Lower oil prices, less foreign dependence, second-order economic benefits (shipbuilding, manufacturing), regional influence (Arctic), etc.

22 Common Negative Arguments
Development bad aka de-development aka growth bad will serve as the general “thesis” of many negative arguments Drilling disadvantages (BP oil spill) Coastal habitat destruction Pollution (dumping, ballast water, invasive species) Global warming (more oil tankers/global shipping = more emissions) Most “critiques” will interrogate “why” we feel the need to develop the ocean (Heidegger, environmental managerialism, environmental securitization, etc.)

23 More Negative Arguments
Agency resource trade-off disadvantages will be popular – new development projects means more monitoring by the EPA/NOAA, strains their budgets, means they can’t protect/monitor other things Military disadvantages will be common – new oil rigs hurts naval training, abiding by UNCLOS provisions constraints US naval freedom of action, etc. Privatization (“let the free market work”) will also be a source of negative arguments given the economic implications of ocean policy

24 Anything Else? It’s a BIG topic – this lecture merely scratches the surface Keep an eye on what other camps are producing both in terms of Affs and Neg arguments Ask questions/read about ocean policy Read through the evidence packet (if you haven’t) Read the topic paper – very good background information about the topic and why it was chosen:

25 Go to O-House!!!

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