Saturday, February 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: A modest start on cutting carbon pollution

The carbon-cutting plan the Obama administration unveiled Monday is not the fastest or most effective approach to reducing global warming pollution. But with Congress refusing to act, someone has to lead and take bold action on an issue that will require sustained attention for decades. The plan should force Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature to stop ignoring accepted science on global warming and craft a more thoughtful energy policy.

The proposed federal regulations would cut emissions of carbon dioxide from existing power plants by nearly one-third by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. States could meet their targets in a variety of ways, from investing in efficiency programs and clean-energy projects to upgrading old power plants and collaborating with other states. As the first-ever guidelines on cutting carbon pollution from existing plants, the rules would be a helpful guide as states and utilities move away from coal-fired electric plants. They also would give the United States more standing to prod China, India and other polluters to clean up their acts.

Any national effort to address climate change must involve America's power plants. These plants are the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the country, accounting for one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions. President Barack Obama's plan would remove 730 million metric tons of carbon pollution from the air by 2030, equal to the emissions from two-thirds of the nation's passenger vehicle fleet. The public health benefits of cleaner air — in lives saved and damage spared to the economy — would reach at least $55 billion by 2030, or seven times the cost of the cleanup effort.

Congressional Republicans and the coal industry were quick to label the proposal a jobs killer that could spark the next energy crisis. It is exactly the opposite. States, cities and utilities are already moving away from coal, taking advantage of lower costs for cleaner natural gas and new technologies that are making renewable energy sources such as wind, biofuel and solar more attractive. If anything, the rules go easy by giving states virtually free rein in reaching their goals. And while states would have to submit a plan by 2016, the rules allow for delays that push back that deadline up to two more years. States would have an additional decade or longer to fully implement the pollution control measures.

A federal rule aimed at the states is not the best approach to reducing carbon emissions. It is really a job for Congress, and a more direct approach such as a tax on carbon emissions would be quicker and fairer. But the Senate failed to move a comprehensive energy package in 2010 that was passed by the House, and time is running out on the Obama administration.

Obama's proposal builds on his previous measures to limit emissions and increase fuel efficiency in cars and trucks. And it comes as the federal courts have strongly endorsed the EPA's authority to regulate air pollution. Though a national carbon tax would be better, the president has shifted the heat of public attention to states such as Florida. It will be up to the governor and state legislators to stop sticking their heads in the sand and draft a responsible energy policy.

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Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trump’s claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

It’s not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18