Monday, June 18, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Corps drags feet on Everglades plan

The Army Corps of Engineers dealt a puzzling and troubling blow last month to the federal-state effort to restore the Everglades. The corps' internal review board refused to sign off on a plan long in the making that would move more water into the southern regions of the basin. The corps should address its concerns immediately and work quickly to ensure that this stage of the cleanup doesn't miss the next phase of federal money.

The corps' Civil Works Review Board was widely expected to approve the plan on April 22. But in a surprise decision, the board postponed its approval, saying it needed more time to assess "this challenging feat." The work calls for cleaning polluted water and moving more of it south to help restore the central and southern Everglades and Florida Bay. The plan is central to reducing the amount of polluted water that now is diverted east and west, fouling rivers and estuaries and worsening urban flood control. Adding water flow to the central and southern basin also is key to restoring the natural habitat and wildlife.

The corps failed to lay out any serious concerns, and it looks indifferent to the impact that these further delays will have on this complicated partnership. State and federal officials already have agreed to the outlines of restoring the central basin. And they have acknowledged that while some positive impacts will occur with redirecting water flow, the overall goal of improving both water flow and water quality is a target that the partners should pursue simultaneously.

Environmental advocates worry the corps' foot-dragging could jeopardize the chance of getting the central Everglades plan into the current federal funding cycle. Under the corps' timetable, the approval process could take until August, which could push off the eligibility for funding two years or more. The day after the corps' decision, 12 members of Florida's congressional delegation, including both U.S. senators and Reps. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, and Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, wrote to the chairmen of the House and Senate public works committees, urging them to keep the projects on the funding list in the current water bill percolating through Congress.

The corps still has a window over the next month to resolve concerns and support the effort in the current round of funding. Failing to do so would be a major setback, not only to the environmental plan but to the cooperative effort between the federal government and the state. By demonstrating the sense of urgency that's called for, the corps would get the restoration plan on the books and inspire Congress to fund the project without further delays.

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Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

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Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

This fall voters will have 13 constitutional amendments to wade through on the ballot, but Amendment 4 should get special focus. It represents a rare opportunity to rectify a grievous provision in the Florida Constitution, which permanently revokes t...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18
Editorial: How Florida and the Trump administration are tampering with your health care

Editorial: How Florida and the Trump administration are tampering with your health care

The Trump administration just can’t stop sabotaging Americans’ access to health care. Instead of giving up after it failed to persuade Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it continues to quietly undermine the law in ways that would reduce acc...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18