GRE Argument Essay 193

The following proposal was raised at a meeting of the Franklin City Council.

“Franklin Airport, which is on a bay, is notorious for flight delays. The airport management wants to build new runways to increase capacity but can only do so by filling in 900 acres of the bay. The Bay Coalition organization objects that filling in the bay will disrupt tidal patterns and harm wildlife. But the airport says that if it is permitted to build its new runways, it will fund the restoration of 1,000 acres of wetlands in areas of the bay that have previously been damaged by industrialization. This plan should be adopted, for it is necessary to reduce the flight delays, and the wetlands restoration part of the plan ensures that the bay’s environment will actually be helped rather than hurt.”

The proposal concludes that the plan to fill in 900 acres of the bay for building new runways by Franklin Airport will ensure that flight delays are controlled. Additionally, Franklin Airport has offered to carry out a restoration of 1000 acres of wetlands to compensate for the environmental damage that will be caused due to the filling up of 900 acres of the bay. The arguer asserts that this restoration plan would be favorable and not damaging for the environment as claimed by the Bay Coalition organization. However, a close scrutiny of the argument reveals several flaws that make the argument specious in several respects.

The arguer has conveniently ignored all other possible factors that can lead to a reduction in the flight delays at the airport. It is likely that Franklin Airport is staffed inadequately and the staff is unable to manage the scheduling of flights leading to flight delays. It is possible that there is no dearth of runways at the airport but they are in need of maintenance. There is no reference to the weather conditions in the region where Franklin Airport is situated. It is likely that by virtue of being located near the bay, the region where the airport is situated sees inclement weather most of the times. As there may be unpredictable strong winds, storms, hurricanes etc. the fights get delayed very often. Without ruling out all such possibilities, the arguer cannot convince the reader that the flight delays occur due to an inadequate number of runways. Therefore, the arguer fails to convince the reader that building new runways could lead to a reduction in fight delays and hence, the effort involved in filling up 900 acres of the bay seems highly unjustified.

Even if one assumes that the flight delays are indeed because of an inadequate number of runways, the arguer needs to prove that it is inevitable that 900 acres of the bay be filled up to construct runways. There is no statistical data pertaining to the number of runways required and the amount of space required for constructing one runway. Moreover, there is no mention of the kind of space available around the airport. It is likely that there may be land near the airport which can be utilized for constructing the runways. The arguer needs to rule out this possibility in order to convince the reader that filling up 900 acres of the bay is the only solution for creating space for additional runways.

The plan for restoration of 1000 acres of wetlands is not supported by any evidence which proves that it will not lead to any environmental damage. The process of renovation itself might be damaging to the environment. There is no mention of the procedure that will be carried out for the restoration plan. It is likely that the procedure involves processes that will damage the environment. Common sense tells us that the process of filling up of the bay and the restoration of the wetlands will have entirely different consequences on the ecological balance of the region. As there is no evidence that can prove that ecological damage like the disruption of tidal patterns and harm to wildlife would be balanced by the restoration of the wetlands, one cannot be convinced that the restoration plan would be beneficial and it would be able to compensate for the ecological harm caused by filling up 900 acres of the bay.

The argument could have been bolstered by providing evidence that clearly indicates lack of additional runways as the only reason for flight delays. Moreover, the reader needs to be convinced that space amounting 900 acres would be required for the construction of runways and that the restoration of the wetlands would be ecologically beneficial. In view of the above, it is obvious that lack of sufficient evidence makes the conclusion drawn by the argument sound dubious.