Thursday, May 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Trump puts Gulf drilling protections at risk

President Donald Trump used the seventh anniversary of the BP oil disaster last month to set the stage for new and dangerous drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. He signed an executive order directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review an Obama administration plan that limited drilling in areas of the Arctic and southeast Atlantic between 2017 and 2022. This is a serious setback for the environment, public safety and energy policy.

Trump's order could narrow federal protections against drilling on the Alaskan and Atlantic coasts, and open the door to new leasing in the Gulf of Mexico. He instructed Interior officials to consider revising the current schedule of oil and gas lease sales in the outer continental shelf with an eye toward maximizing production activity in the Alaska area, the southern and mid Atlantic and the western and central gulf. He also ordered the fast-tracking of permitting to help determine the amount of offshore resources available, and he called for a review of several safety rules put into place after the Deepwater Horizon explosion. This all takes regulatory and energy policy in the wrong direction.

While the eastern gulf is still protected by a 2006 congressional agreement that bars drilling within 125 miles of the Panhandle and 230 miles of Tampa Bay, drilling in the central gulf could still endanger Florida. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., has filed legislation to block Trump from opening up any new offshore areas for drilling until at least 2022. He also has filed legislation to extend the existing ban in the eastern gulf for an additional five years, to 2027. A Pentagon official also has noted the importance the drilling ban in the eastern gulf as a means to accommodate military training in the area.

Zinke's review could take years. Still, any move to open up new areas for offshore drilling sends the wrong message to the industry. It could sap investment in renewables if companies see offshore leases as a cheap hedge for supply over the long term. The move also sends a signal that this administration will not act as a strong manager of sea and energy resources on federal land.

Trump also ordered a review of the Well Control Rule, which Obama put in place last year. The rule aims to improve standards for blowout preventers, the last line of defense for undersea gas wells at risk of exploding. In the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the blowout preventer failed, leading to a series of reforms imposed by the Obama administration that targeted both the equipment and training involved in offshore rigs. Trump ordered Zinke to review whether the rule was necessary.

These are backward steps for a nation and an industry that still are learning the impacts from the worst spill in U.S. history. Congress should not be quick to authorize new offshore drilling, and it certainly should ensure the hard-won safety reforms are not sacrificed in the process.

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Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18