Sunday, June 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Projects will restore Gulf Coast habitats

The recovery from the BP oil spill took a big step last month with the announcement of $100 million in restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. The projects in five states, including Florida, will go a long way toward strengthening the gulf ecosystem and the region's economy. Florida should keep the focus on ecological health, coastal habitats and the fisheries as it steers new work into the pipeline.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced awards for 22 projects across the gulf, including six in Florida, in the first round of restoration work funded by a settlement of criminal charges in the BP case. The list includes tens of millions of dollars to rebuild wetlands, restore the bird population and the fisheries, and repair oyster reefs and marshes.

The foundation is starting off on the right note in doling out the $2.5 billion the agency was awarded as part of the $4 billion settlement. These projects will help the gulf recover from the 2010 spill, provide a baseline for future restoration projects and strengthen the gulf's ability to withstand any such disaster in the future. Officials were right to take the long view by investing in design, river flow and coastal protection projects. These are down payments the foundation can build on in future years as new restoration funding comes to the table.

The Florida work is especially well targeted. About $4.2 million will go to enhance and improve the management of 3,000 acres of degraded oyster habitat in Apalachicola Bay, whose fishery accounts for 90 percent of the oysters in Florida. Another $3 million will track the health of reef fisheries, which is critical to sustaining red snapper and other species. And $1.5 million will go to eliminating light pollution on Panhandle beaches, which can disorient sea turtles, keeping nesting females and hatchlings from making it back to the sea. That's a welcome investment for a population hard hit by the spill, and for a state that hosts more than 90 percent of all loggerhead turtles nesting in the continental United States.

The nation has focused much of its attention in the past three years on the economic damage of the spill. With these awards, the foundation is moving to address the ecological impact, too, which is key to the region's economy. As officials look to spend another $340 million over five years in Florida, the priority should be on projects that provide a scientific base for restoration efforts. The worst environmental disaster in this country's history should at least lead to equally ground-breaking changes in how the United States manages its natural resources. These monetary awards are a good start.

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Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Itís hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bayís two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. Thatís the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

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...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
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