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Gulf drilling is a danger we can't afford

Drilling holds big benefits | Oct. 21, commentary

Drilling a danger we can't afford

Dave Mica's op-ed expounds on how wonderful drilling in the Gulf of Mexico will be for our economy. If he hasn't seen the news about the huge oil spill off the coast of Australia that is now contaminating Indonesia, perhaps he should take notice. Millions of liters of oil have poured into the ocean, endangering and killing marine life.

Oil drilling is dangerous to our ecosystems. We depend on the oceans for food, and to contaminate them with oil spills is unforgiveable. Every human being deserves a safe and ample food supply. Damaging or collapsing the ocean ecosystems is a crime against all of us.

The owners of the leaking oil rig near Australia have stated that plugging the 25-centimeter hole beneath the ocean's surface where the leak is occurring is "extraordinarily complex" and they don't know when a fourth attempt to plug it will occur. Yikes!

It's time for Mica to join the 21st century. Clean energy from solar or wind will generate the same benefits to our economy and will be much safer. Oil spills, on the other hand, will damage our tourism and economy. We need to say no to drilling!

Barbara Howard, Gulfport

Drilling holds big benefits | Oct. 21, commentary

Our future requires alternative energy

It's no surprise Dave Mica, from the Florida Petroleum Council, wants to maintain reliance on "traditional fuels" and risk the predicted horrors of drilling off our already threatened shores. As if the coasts and oceans of our planet can tolerate added abuses. (Dr. Sylvia Earle, a leading marine biologist, would surely cry foul.)

The future is about alternative energy and better designed transportation, not the gas-guzzling cars Florida Petroleum adores. Haven't Americans become savvy enough about self-serving industry claims to recognize disasters in the making? Ask the folks in Texas, Louisiana, or Australia how happy they are with their oil spill experiences.

Just who does Mica figure will reap the "benefits"? Surely not our beaches, ocean/gulf critters, or the state's dwindling tourists.

JoAnn M. Valenti, Ph.D., Tampa

Drilling holds big benefits | Oct. 21, commentary

Beware empty promises

Dave Mica, one of the highest-paid lobbyists in the state, wants us to believe that allowing offshore oil drilling near Gulf Coast beaches will benefit us. His slick and persuasive op-ed column touts the amazing benefits that allowing the oil companies access to the gulf waters will bring the local citizenry.

Notice how he refrains from using phrases like "offshore drilling," substituting instead the more palatable "offshore energy development." He pays lip service to valid concerns about the environmental impact of drilling, but states that oil companies leave "the Earth nearly untouched."

This is how the oil companies will win the right to drill in the gulf near our beaches. Lobbyists who are paid for their powers of persuasion will feed us a comforting stream of doublespeak and empty promises. They will emphasize economic benefits and minimize the accruing damage and potential for catastrophe. Meanwhile, a steady river of vast sums of money funneled through lobbyists like Mica will continue to sway the political debate in Tallahassee.

If you truly want to know what happens when offshore drilling is permitted, look to communities that have allowed it, like the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana. Walk on their beaches while dodging the clots of tar. Speak to impoverished locals about the economic promises of Big Oil.

The oil and profits don't stay locally. The damage to the beaches does.

Patrick Klemawesch, St. Petersburg

Drilling holds big benefits | Oct. 21, commentary

Consider warming

Well, there is one thing that Dave Mica, Florida Petroleum Council executive director, is not short of: gas! To hear him say it, Florida's answer to its economic and unemployment problems is to allow unfettered oil and gas drilling off our coastline and that in order to reach our highest potential as a state and nation, we must allow this. How does he put it, "there is … enough oil and gas to power 65 million cars for 60 years."

Hello! Has he ever heard of global warming? What about other environmental concerns? Does he care? Everyone knows that climate and beaches are what make Florida a favorite with travelers. What happens when "an accident" fouls the beaches and tourists do not come?

How is the petroleum industry going to save Florida's economy then?

Emilio Sanchez, Palm Harbor

Will they help clean up?

For the people who want offshore drilling to happen here, I have some questions: Will you be there to help for the oil spill cleanup when, not if, it happens? Will you still invite your friends and relatives to visit our beaches, which will have tar balls? Will you explain to your children why we don't have the same beautiful beaches we used to?

I grew up on the Texas coast and realize what could possibly happen here. For the readers of this letter, if you can spare three minutes please write the appropriate politicians and let them know all it takes is one oil spill and our beaches and tourism will never be the same.

Barbara Homan, St. Petersburg

Health costs tracked for fossil fuels | Oct. 20

Deadly coal

I noticed (barely) the squib on Page 7A about the cost in early deaths and health damages due to burning coal in power plants. It was about $60 billion a year, and I wonder why that isn't front-page news, especially as the coal industry is bombarding us with ads and press releases about the need to burn even more.

These guys want to dig up our national parks and level what's left of the mountains in Appalachia. Their profits cost us an additional $60 billion in early death, and instead of being outraged, we put the info in the back of the book.

And, speaking of energy, what do you want to bet that the very secretive cabal of oil people that want to drill off our coast includes members of the Bush and/or Cheney families?

Walter Roberts, Inverness

A flawed calculation | Oct. 20, letter

The workers' plight

I just read the letter stating that the calculated cost of living for seniors is flawed. This is the latest in a series of letters bemoaning the financial plight of the seniors in our current economy.

I do not know a single person who has not experienced a loss of income due to pay freezes or cuts, loss of benefits, or loss of a job — or who doesn't have a family member in that situation. This is on top of the rise in the cost of living.

If I had to choose between a fixed income with a built in annual increase or the uncertain future of the average worker in this economy, I must say the former of the two is looking pretty good.

Sam Jordan, St. Petersburg

Gulf drilling is a danger we can't afford 10/22/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 22, 2009 6:25pm]
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