Power up domestic jobs | March 11, commentary
Gingrich focusing on U.S. energy
It appears that Al Hoffman doesn't follow the campaign of Newt Gingrich, whose focus is on energy independence for our country.
While I agree with Hoffman's assessment of the need for jobs here in the United States, and the obvious job openings with the building of the Keystone pipeline and more offshore drilling, I'm surprised that he generalizes that all the Republican presidential candidates are unaware of this important and obvious opportunity for our country to become energy independent, create jobs and reduce our deficit.
He also failed to mention the vast oil reserves of the Bakken shale oil fields here in the United States and how important they can be to bolstering our economy.
Hoffman said "neither the president nor other presidential candidates are stressing this point." Not true. Gingrich has said on many occasions that $2.50 a gallon for gas is very possible and energy independence can be achieved.
Really, all we need is a strong president who will stand up to the environmentalists and not worry about getting votes in the next election.
Carmen LaBianca, Largo
Power up domestic jobs March 11, commentary
Focus on alternatives
According to Al Hoffman, we should stop destroying other nations' environments and start destroying our own. Now the question is: Whose backyard do we start doing this in? Yours? Mine? The accompanying photo of the trans-Alaska pipeline is not what I want to see when I walk out my door or go to a park or preserve.
Why can't we "power up domestic jobs" through the development of alternative and renewable resources? I hope that in my lifetime the use of fossil fuels will be in the display next to buggy whips at the museum.
T.W. Funari, St. Petersburg
It's Obama's strategy
Al Hoffman asserts that the best way to improve our energy security, create jobs and reduce the deficit is to expedite expansion of all forms of domestic energy (fossil fuels, nuclear, wind and solar). He goes on to say that he will vote for the presidential candidate who advocates policy changes that will replace foreign oil with domestic energy within the next decade.
Hoffman must not have been paying attention during President Barack Obama's most recent State of the Union address, in which the president advocated eliminating fossil fuel subsidies as part of an "all of the above" energy policy. Of course that can only be done by Congress, and congressional Republicans automatically oppose anything Obama supports.
Where are the free-market capitalists among Republicans? Why aren't they clamoring for the elimination of all forms of subsidies for all forms of energy? Ending such corporate welfare would reduce the deficit and stimulate the development of alternative domestic energy sources, thus creating jobs and improving our energy security.
Thomas Eppes, Thonotosassa
Diversify energy sources
As a geologist, I must speak out concerning the price of gasoline and the agitating efforts of those who know so little about the process of petroleum production. It is foolish on the part of the voting public to fall prey to the ranting of legislators owned by the oil industry who know very little about what is going on other than accepting political contributions.
Immediate drilling of more wells, particularly in environmentally sensitive areas, will accomplish very little in terms of lowering the price of gasoline at the pump. Many wells will need to be successful and will need to connect to a large network of delivery pipes laid on the sea bottom. This process will take perhaps 10 years. There will be no drop in the price of gasoline tomorrow.
At the same time, the discovery of large quantities of natural gas will be of benefit in potentially lowering or, at least, stabilizing the price of gasoline. It is possible to use the natural gas so developed, with facility modification, in power generation plants. This would make petroleum more readily available for other uses. Natural gas is also a cleaner burn than either oil or coal.
There is a lot of politically motivated and not scientific- or economics-based criticism directed at the Obama administration. Yet its approach to energy diversification is best. Demand a diversified energy program.
John C. Miller, Tampa
Speculators to blame
The free-market Republicans are hollering at President Barack Obama for failing to do something about rising gas prices. Prices are rising primarily because of free-market speculators worrying about turmoil in the Mideast. The same thing happened toward the end of George W. Bush's second term, and conservatives rushed to defend Bush. They can't have it both ways.
Mark Brandt, Dunedin
Prices not out of line
Like everyone else, I am concerned about the price of gasoline, but consider the following:
In 1955, gasoline was about 29 cents per gallon, the typical four-door family sedan got around 14 miles per gallon and the average worker made about $2 per hour.
To drive his 1955 sedan for 1,000 miles would have taken 71 gallons of gas that cost $20 or 10 hours of labor.
In 2012, gasoline is around $3.85 per gallon, the typical four-door sedan gets around 27 miles per gallon and the same worker is making about $15 per hour.
That same 1,000-mile trip would take 37 gallons of gasoline at a cost of $142 or about 9.5 hours of labor.
Leonard C. Silva, St. Petersburg
The Florida Legislature has shown this session a complete lack of focus on important issues while mishandling our money and meddling in social issues.
Repeated efforts to redefine and legislate reproductive rights and other initiatives pander to a political base in a political year. These misguided steps come at the expense of progress on consumer protection, foreclosure fraud, failing schools and the environment.
The crowning achievement of this session: the obsequious spectacle of our representatives lining up to vote for JD Alexander's roadway and a new independent Polk County University while slashing funding for every other state university.
This Legislature's conservatism does not conserve privacy, rights or money. It's shameful; we can do much better.
Edward Miller, Tampa