Saturday, September 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: BP oil spill dangers persisting

A new study by the University of South Florida underscores the need to continue monitoring the impact of the 2010 BP oil spill. Researchers testing the toxicity of the Gulf of Mexico found that a portion of the spilled oil could have moved southeastward toward the Tampa Bay area, potentially affecting marine life in ways that might not be known for years. This is the latest reminder of the importance of tracking the spill's long-term impact.

The researchers made more than a dozen trips in recent years to examine the health of the water column and sediment in the wake of the spill in April 2010, which released 205 million gallons of oil. The team found that water currents might have pushed some of the dispersed oil to a shelf off the west coast about 80 miles from the bay area, and that organisms in these waters "might experience DNA damage" that could lead to mutations in the coming years.

The researchers were careful to hedge their findings, calling the movement of the BP waste "likely" and "consistent" with the damage while acknowledging that "other explanations" exist for the "problematic" toxicity in the gulf waters. Still, the USF team reported that the "acutely toxic" water was not found on the western shelf until nearly a year after BP managed to shut down the runaway well.

As one of the few studies of the impact to the west Florida shelf, USF's findings, published this month by Environmental Science & Technology, raise new questions about the long-term damage from the discharge. As the report noted, the exposure "at all levels of the marine food web" may have complex effects "that are difficult to predict at this time." And one area ripe for more rigorous review was the federal government's decision to allow the unprecedented use of chemical dispersants to break up the oil. That might have speeded up the cleanup effort. But the use of dispersants, notably undersea, raises environmental questions that have not been adequately addressed.

USF has contributed significantly to a fuller, public picture of the environmental fallout of the BP disaster, which has serious implications for the quality of life and economy of this state. This report is another in that record of public service. Federal and private agencies that are still assessing the spill should recognize USF's report as but the latest acknowledgement that the disaster will require continued monitoring. The impact on gulf waters, its fisheries and coastal ecosystem could take years if not decades to become clear, and the government should not be quick to reach convenient conclusions and move on.

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Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Vote by mail has been a stunning success in Florida, increasing turnout and making it easy and convenient to cast a ballot with time to research and reflect. But a new study shows that mail ballots cast by African-American, Hispanic or younger voters...
Published: 09/21/18
Editorial: Borrowers need protection from Marlin Financial

Editorial: Borrowers need protection from Marlin Financial

State and federal lending regulations exist to protect consumers from being surprised — and overwhelmed — by ballooning debt. Marlin Financial, a shadowy auto lender doing business around Florida, seems to be skirting those protections ...
Published: 09/21/18
Editorial: Putnam hire stinks of patronage, secrecy

Editorial: Putnam hire stinks of patronage, secrecy

In addition to a lesson on political patronage, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam needs a refresher on the particulars of state public records law.In January 2017, Putnam hired the 27-year-old son of a former Publix executive to a high-pay...
Published: 09/20/18
Editorial: Investigate first, then hold Kavanaugh confirmation vote

Editorial: Investigate first, then hold Kavanaugh confirmation vote

There should be a timely investigation of the allegation of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh before senators hear from him and his accuser, let alone vote on whether they should confirm his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. The proces...
Published: 09/20/18
Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

The heated debate on immigration could benefit from some more facts, which the U.S. Census has helpfully provided. And the facts show that rather than building walls, the United States would do far better to keep opening doors to legal immigrants. Th...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18
Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

The federal Food and Drug Administration is bringing important scrutiny to the increasing use of e-cigarettes, requiring companies that make and sell them to show they are keeping their products away from minors. Vaping is the new front in the nation...
Published: 09/18/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate and the nation needs to hear more about the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Setting aside Kavanaugh's judicial record, his political past and the hyper-partisan divide over his nomination, a no...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

The Tampa City Council has yet to hear a compelling reason to allow a private social club in a residential neighborhood off Bayshore Boulevard, and a final meeting on the matter scheduled for Thursday offers the council a chance to show the diligence...
Published: 09/14/18