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Don't dismiss need for gulf drilling

Long-term policy losing to short-term politics | Sept. 11, editorial

Don't dismiss need for gulf drilling For once I would like to see an opinion piece in the Times debating the issue of man-made global warming or taking the positive side of drilling. In this latest piece, the unknown author spews the Democratic talking points of "gas prices could drop two-tenths of a penny — in 2030" and that it would take 10 years to affect supply.

First of all, when President Bush announced he was lifting the executive order banning offshore drilling, prices of oil started dropping like a rock to where they are now (a lot more than two-tenths a penny).

Second, what is wrong with not giving billions of dollars to people who hate us (OPEC) and start being energy-efficient on our own and giving that money to American companies?

Another point the author states is the environmental damage it would cause. When was the last major damage done by oil wells in the gulf during the last several years of bad hurricanes? The answer is there was none. The technology today has made drilling safe and environmentally friendly. And it could be done in as little as two years, not the 10 the liberals want to "drill" into people's brains.

Bill Gerretz, St. Petersburg

Save the resource

There are many reasons to reject offshore drilling. One of the best is that we should not rush to deplete American resources first. Our oil resources are nonrenewable and our Republican leadership is incredibly shortsighted in thinking we should exploit those resources now for their short-term and limited benefits.

Leave our oil in the ground and its value will grow immensely, to the long-term benefit of Floridians.

Chuck Connor, Lutz

Offshore drilling and pump prices

Domestic oil might not turn out to be a bargain

"We need to be less dependent on foreign oil." Who can argue with that?

Let's assume that the United States produces all the oil it needs. Also assume that the world market price of crude is $100 per barrel. What will U.S. producers charge us for their barrels of oil?

Remember that big oil companies exist solely to make as much money as possible for their stockholders (after the executives have filled their own pockets). Also, big oil companies are international, and their corporate interests come prior to any other interests.

Oil is a global commodity. Only government-controlled producers would sell it for less than they can get on the world market. If we expect to pay less than the world market, we should form a national oil company.

The myth is that somehow more U.S.-produced oil will lower our pump price. It won't, unless we could produce enough to flood the world market at will.

Offshore drilling and production in Florida, or even in ANWR, will not impact the world market price. Setting aside environmental issues, such production will be high cost and only economically feasible at a high price per barrel, which would not result in a low pump price.

Our politicians should quit pandering to knee-jerk political popularity and develop a program based on reality. There are real solutions.

Joe Crites, Clearwater

Long-term policy losing to short-term politics | Sept. 11, editorial

A crisis long ignored

It's time for politicos of both parties to pander for votes now that November is approaching, and the latest and loudest battle cry is "gas prices." Every administration, no matter the party, along with a feeble Congress have dallied for 35 years to address the energy consumption problem since OPEC fired an early warning shot across our bow with the oil embargo of 1973.

We as citizens quickly forgot this message, and the do-nothing government, in cahoots with its big business partners, lulled us into a sense of false security. It does not matter which party has been in control because they are all beholden to campaign contributors. Since the embargo, those seeking to be elected or to remain in office have ignored the big picture instead of leading a real crusade to address the energy crisis, which simply continues to expand.

The government has abdicated its responsibilities to set real energy policies by becoming a dupe for business interests to the detriment of the overall good for the entire population. There is no excuse for these executive and congressional failures since 1973. Real action starting back then across a broad spectrum would be showing tangible results today and we would not be facing another self-made crisis.

Dale Gottschalk, Hudson

Sex, partying rife in oil inquiry | Sept. 11, story

Where's the punishment?

Once again corruption is discovered in our government. The question is: Will anybody pay a price for this? Our economy is driven by oil, and to find that the very people who controlled the regulation of it were on "the take" is abominable.

I noted in the article that Gregory Smith (the head of the Denver office) has retired. I would be most interested in a follow-up story to let us know what kind of federal pension he is now collecting after his dismal service to the American taxpayer.

This mess will be left for the next president to clean up. I hope both party candidates are ready for the challenges ahead.

John Caton, St. Petersburg

Let voters have a say on state income tax Sept. 10, commentary by Martin Dyckman

Not another tax

I emphatically disagree with Martin Dyckman's reasoning on initiating a voter-approved state income tax in Florida.

I come from New Jersey where there is a state income tax, which does nothing to offset the extremely high property taxes just as the lottery and gambling did nothing to improve life for the citizens of New Jersey. A state income tax would be nothing less than another tax Floridians would have to deal with.

If his reasoning is that the poor pay more taxes than the rich do now, don't add another tax, amend the tax laws. Let's keep Florida one of the lucky seven who don't tax personal incomes and let's make sure that our elected officials don't encourage us to vote to change our state Constitution, which protects us from that tax.

Richard Valentine, Palm Harbor

Let voters have a say on state income tax Sept. 10, commentary by Martin Dyckman

Let's get started

I am in complete agreement. As Martin Dyckman stated, most other states have a state income tax. I think it quite unfair of Florida to expect its citizens to bear the burden of supporting state and public concerns with only their sales and property taxes. This is becoming more evident with the drop in tourism dollars.

As a retiree and former citizen of Ohio, I found that the 2 percent state income tax we had to pay did not put a particular drain on our incomes and was very helpful in offsetting the property taxes on our citizens. As a retiree, I am more than willing to have my retirement income taxed. I feel this should exclude those individuals who are totally dependent on Social Security.

I would like to know how we can start a grass roots effort to convince our legislators and governor to consider such a bill.

Albert L. Stevens, Wesley Chapel

We need health care | Sept. 10, letter

Universal care not answer

Granted health insurance can be expensive, but consider the following:

• If we have universal health care, who will pay for it? You guessed it. We the taxpayers.

• With increased government regulation, how much choice would individuals have in medical care?

• Many who claim they cannot afford health care freely spend money on liquor, cigarettes and fast foods. Often it is a matter of priority.

Health care can be expensive, but I do not believe that universal health care is the answer. Better group insurance plans at places of employment, adopting healthier lifestyles, and learning how to budget for the cost of it can be done on our level. We don't need government intervention to accomplish this.

Carl E. Graham, Largo

Ban on gay adoptions struck down | Sept. 11

A senseless ban

It's nice to see that there are some judges in Florida willing to take a stand on gay adoptions. It's a shame that "everyone" is not entitled to apply to adopt children in this state. With all the children floundering in foster care, just imagine the lives they could lead in more loving and giving homes if the ban was lifted.

Change is needed to save more children.

Jim Steinle, Clearwater

Don't dismiss need for gulf drilling 09/14/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 1:57pm]
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