Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

'Not here, not now, not ever'

A couple of months back I was walking one of our glorious beaches on a cool Saturday morning when people dressed in black started showing up by the dozens.

There were a few hundred of them, old folks, little kids and everyone in between, gathering by the water. Strangers took each other's hands to make a paper-doll line of people. The effect was not subtle: Across the clean white sand, they were the color of an oil spill.

As waves rolled and gulls squawked, some of the protesters said over and over: "Not here, not now, not ever," a quiet counterattack to the mindless "Drill, baby, drill." They were a remarkable sight, a human chain across a beautiful beach, a scene repeated that day on shorelines around the state.

It's one of the best things we have, protesters were saying, and we won't get it back. Don't sacrifice our Florida for a drop in the bucket.

But up in Tallahassee, legislators were pushing — again — to allow drilling in state waters. Earlier this month it was tabled. At least until next year.

And more trouble, further out: President Barack Obama announced a shortsighted and sweeping plan that would, among other things, kill a ban on oil drilling off Florida's west coast — a political poker chip in his bigger push on the energy bill.

Given all this, could anyone have asked for a better — or worse — object lesson than the disaster currently playing out in the gulf?

And how ironic, if a catastrophe gets across what protesters and environmentalists and just regular people who care enough to save this state could not.

The story isn't new: An oil rig, this one called the Deepwater Horizon about 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, exploded and later sank. Forty-two thousand gallons of oil were gushing into the gulf daily as workers desperately tried to stop the flow. Out there are miles and miles and miles of oil.

As the story played out, the headline in Tuesday's Times seemed almost inevitable:

Gulf oil spill could threaten Florida.

This is bad news we need to keep from repeating.

We dippy tree huggers were told not to worry, that improved technology and tighter regulation would limit the potential for this kind of thing to happen. The rig that blew was considered one of the more advanced.

But even that doesn't matter when you consider the damage that one good hurricane — and they have been known to make their way into the gulf now and again — can do to oil drilling operations.

So here's the pitch, as we watch and wait and hope for the best in the current crisis: Drilling in the gulf will not do enough to render us energy independent, which makes it not worth the risk of devastating the best things about our state. It will not even make us feel appreciably better at the gas pump.

And if protecting our pristine beaches isn't enough, remember those critical tourist dollars those beaches bring in.

And if a 125-mile buffer seems adequate to you, check the map on how far away from us that spill is as all that oil seeps out.

Imagine our beaches fouled, our marine life threatened. Then again, we may not have to imagine.

Drill, baby, drill?

Here's a better one.

Not here, not now, not ever.

'Not here, not now, not ever' 04/27/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 10:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Protectors of Confederate statue readied for a battle that never materialized

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — Big Dixie flags were waving. County employees had erected a barrier around the Confederate soldier statue at Main and Broad streets. Roads and parking areas were blocked off. Uniformed local officers and federal law enforcement patrolled.

    Police tape and barricades surround the Confederate statue in Brooksville.
  2. Manhattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman


    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  3. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'


    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  4. Plan a fall vacation at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens when crowds are light


    Now that the busy summer vacation season is ending, Floridians can come out to play.

    Maria Reyna, 8, of Corpus Cristi, TX. eats chicken at the Lotus Blossom Cafe at the Chinese pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  Epcot is celebrating it's 35th year as the upcoming Food and Wine Festival kicks off once again.
  5. USF spends $1.5 million to address growing demand for student counseling


    TAMPA — As Florida's universities stare down a mental health epidemic, the University of South Florida has crafted a plan it hopes will reach all students, from the one in crisis to the one who doesn't know he could use some help.

    A student crosses the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, where visits to the school's crisis center more than doubled last year, part of a spike in demand that has affected colleges across the country. The university is addressing the issue this year with $1.5 million for more "wellness coaches," counselors, online programs and staff training. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]