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Conservation should be the first answer to our petroleum problems

Oil answer: Start drilling | April 30, Robert Samuelson column

Conservation should be first step

Robert Samuelseon asks, "What to do about oil?" and answers with, "The first thing to do: start drilling." This is an absurd answer in a nation that has not only ignored energy conservation for the most part, but arguably done more to increase oil consumption than to reduce it.

Until recently, our government gave a tax break for purchasing the largest, most fuel inefficient vehicles made (6,000 pounds and up). Our vice president scoffed at the notion of conservation just a few years ago. For more than 20 years our vehicles increased in size, commutes grew longer and fuel efficient driving habits all but disappeared.

Our government refused to raise fuel economy standards for more than 20 years, while foreign automakers have been making cars with 50-100 percent better mpg than most U.S. models since the late 1980s.

Washington has also resisted raising gas taxes for decades, even though they are far lower than those of most countries throughout the world.

We've barely taken baby steps when it comes to energy conservation in this country. Yet Samuelson, a respected economist and syndicated columnist, thinks drilling is the first thing we should do. He doesn't once mention conservation.

Chip Thomas, Tampa

Start the drilling

Three cheers for Robert Samuelson. If we ever want to be free of foreign oil and oil in general, we need to do two things: First announce we are going to start drilling in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico immediately. At the same time announce that in the year 2028, a $5-a-gallon tax will be imposed on all cars and trucks made after 2018. That gives us 20 years to discover alternate forms of energy, and 10 years for automakers to produce cars that are fuel efficient.

Our politics of fear, preached by Sens. Bill Nelson, Mel Martinez and Rep. Kathy Castor, is killing us. We have been drilling in the gulf for 50 years and never had an accident. Its almost as if they want our economy to go bust.

Start the drilling and watch the economy boom. It really is that simple.

Les Rayburn, Dade City

Oil answer: Start drilling | April 30, Robert Samuelson column

Think of the future

First of all, if we take all of the oil out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, we will only get enough oil for six years. What then? And we will have destroyed a very fragile ecosystem that can never be repaired.

Why not invest our resources in the future instead? Congress has been fighting for a year over whether to extend tax credits for wind and solar energy; the incentives for these incredibly efficient energy sources are set to expire in December.

Yes, we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. How about conservation? Wind and solar energy? More efficient vehicles? Why wait until 2020 to require 25 to 35 mph vehicles? How about right now? The technology exists. Why ruin our irreplaceable environment for a very short-term gain?

Robin Sterling, St. Petersburg

Crippling oil restrictions | April 26, letter

Drilling is safe

The letter writer was absolutely right regarding offshore drilling. I have been in Florida for more than 21 years and came from the petroleum industry in Texas, where I worked 35 years, part of which was as a corporate officer.

I have been on the offshore rigs. They are safe. Remember Katrina? The rigs were damaged, but there were no oil spills. The offshore rigs have all sorts of safety valves deep under the water.

If Florida does not get in the gulf and allow drilling, foreign countries will come in and suck it dry with "slant hole drilling."

Florida, wake up before it is too late.

Mary Hise, Clearwater

The oil addicts

President Bush and his supporters are once again calling for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

They remind me of addicts. Addicts have one purpose: To get their fix now. They don't care who they hurt. They don't care about the future. They'll promise you anything. They salivate over that which has been saved by others.

I see no reason why we should hand over one of our most prized possessions (the arctic refuge) to those who behave like addicts. Instead it is important that we transition to a smart energy future while conserving America's arctic wilderness for the enjoyment of future generations and out of respect for other species that share our planet. Together we will meet the challenges. And yes, some places are too special to sacrifice to short-term profit.

Bev Griffiths, chair, Tampa Bay Sierra Club, Riverview

Pat Oliphant cartoon | April 30

Offensive language

I have become used to the St. Petersburg Times' extremely liberal slant and continue to make allowances for that. The Pat Oliphant cartoon on the Opinion page Wednesday was just a little more than I can take.

As a Christian, I am deeply offended by the blasphemous language depicted as coming from Sen. Barack Obama who, in the cartoon, was carrying the Rev. Jeremiah Wright on his back. Had a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times interviewed an individual for a story who had used that language, the offending word or words would have been removed, or at least dashed out.

You have hit an all-time low in my book, as well as another famous book.

Charles Applegate, New Port Richey

Tight budget? Not for everyone | May 1

Ethics lessons?

Once again I am outraged by the behavior of our Legislature. Our teachers are facing a pay cut and lawmakers earmark $2.5-million for the Bill Young Institute of Government to be led by Rep. Bill Young. The institute will be teaching ethics? This is the man who funneled millions of our tax dollars to companies that employ his sons. He should be taking ethics classes, not teaching them.

Cheyrl Bowman, Largo

Conservation should be the first answer to our petroleum problems

05/01/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 5, 2008 3:36pm]
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