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Monday letters: Through our dependence on oil, we all share in the blame for gulf spill

Gulf oil spill

We all have a share in the blame

As we look about in growing frustration for someone to hold accountable for the gulf oil spill, there is plenty of blame to go around. For sure, BP was negligent, as likely was Transocean and Halliburton. Our government (the Minerals Management Service) approved the Deepwater Horizon drilling program without a blowout plan simply because BP said the chances of a blowout were so small they didn't need one. The Bush administration seeded the Interior Department with career oilmen, and the Obama administration left them there.

But before we blame "the Man," let's look at ourselves.

The world is clearly at the point where easy-to-get-at oil is largely gone. But population growth and increased consumption aren't going away. The world is growing. People who ride bikes want scooters; people who ride scooters want cars. So, we are tasked with finding oil (and coal, and natural gas, etc.) from harder and harder to reach and harder and harder to process sources like the deepwater gulf or Canadian tar sands.

As we've drilled and reached deeper, new technologies have been developed to overcome some of the new challenges of going new places. Like all new technology, things go wrong. Computers crash, space shuttles blow up and oil rigs explode. There is no surprise here. The simple choice is to live with these accidents or stop consuming oil at such rapid pace. As virtually all new demand for oil comes from the developing world, reducing consumption is not very likely.

There's still a lot of oil out there; we are not running out. It just is beyond our economic and technological resources to get at it efficiently at a reasonable financial and environmental cost without enormous risks. So these are the risks we take. Not because we want to drill a mile under the gulf, but because we have to.

So the foreseeable future — the end of the Age of Oil — will likely look like the last few years: increasing consumption (higher demand) met by higher prices due to more difficult extraction and processing (decreasing supply) which leads to prices spiking and a crash because we can't afford to fly, drive, ship, etc.

We were warned by at least seven presidents to get off the oil habit. As we look at the gulf turning black and want to hang BP, Transocean, and Haliburton (or Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney), we should really blame the ones at fault. We have found the enemy, and it is us.

Lou Gerber, Belleair Beach

Gulf oil spill

Send BP a message

BP is responsible for perhaps the greatest threat to the Gulf Coast in history. This man-made disaster will affect your beloved gulf for the next 20 years and maybe longer. While BP admits to responsibility by stating they will pay all "legitimate" losses, you can be guaranteed that this for-profit organization will stall and litigate for the same 20 years and maybe longer.

If you think that complaining in the local diner or watering hole that our president is at fault for this disaster is helpful, please think again. BP is the bad guy, not the administration, not your president.

So, think: If you want to send a message that you are angry, that you have had enough of BP's failure to accomplish anything positive to stop the crude oil surging into the gulf, you need to let them know.

This is not accomplished by filling your boat up with gas at the local BP station, as I saw so many times recently. Stop using their product to fill your gas tanks. Go somewhere else. Hit them in their profit margin. They will get the message that you want them to stop polluting your Gulf of Mexico.

Lamont Calandros, Hudson

Buy BP for settlement sake

I have been hearing some comments about boycotting all BP products.

Remember that through the chain of this drama people permitted this well, and they obviously did this without a comprehensive plan, or at least the plan was an incompetent one. Those would be the main villains. And then BP has a responsibility to have a good plan also.

The fact remains that BP is ultimately responsible, so it would be my advice to buy, buy BP products, as this company is the one who will be reimbursing the public.

Some judge in the future will be awarding funds based on BP's solvency, so I suggest we keep money flowing into their accounts, as that will be the source of our future settlements for lost wages and damages done to our ecosystem.

Revenge is not always the way to go. It does not always produce a win. It doesn't take a genius to see that withholding money can only cause BP's insolvency, and they will claim an inability to pay. So, again, wake up, Americans. Buy BP products.

Carolyn Batton, Port Richey

Writing off an era | May 29

Evading the elite

Garrison Keillor laments the passing of an era where intellectual elitists dared to tell us ordinary folks what to think. But it gets worse. With his witty, folksy, acerbic derision usually directed at his political opponents, he scornfully dismisses the hapless wannabe writers for littering the Internet and resorting to self-publishing with no chances of garnering either readership or earnings. Such contempt for aspiring authors from this liberal-leaning journalist is perplexing, unless hobnobbing with the biographer of President Barack Obama, David Remnick, and his fellow glitterari hopelessly mesmerized Keillor and screwed up his facts.

He needs not to worry; the Mary Pope Osbornes and Scott Turows will still be there, and anti-elitist, insurrectionist mobs will not storm the New York Times, the great brand name of publishing (his words, not mine). What might happen (hopefully) is that the TV and stodgy, elitist intellectuals with vested interests will no longer be the sole arbiters of what's good in literature, and substance will count for something.

Jerry Rawicki, Seminole

For Rays fans, nonstop to Trop | May 29

Bring on the buses

The idea of providing a transportation alternative to driving to Tropicana Field is long overdue. If the starting point had been in New Tampa or Citrus Park Mall, or the Westshore area, I really think there would have been far more than 12 passengers. In fact, there might have been a need for a second bus.

There are so many fans who do not drive at night, and teens who either don't yet drive or don't have cars (plus those folks who hate I-275 ) but they don't live near Channelside.

I hope another attempt will be made at a different location. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit might realize a profit, and the Rays games might have much better attendance.

Adrianne Sundheim, Odessa

Bank robber accused of $70m Ponzi scheme June 1, story

Willing victims

If I decide to throw myself under a moving train believing that this time it will stop just for me, do we blame the train for killing me?

I am having a hard time applying the word "victim" or generating sympathy for folks who bought into a scam promoting huge returns (546 to 17,000 percent — was that a typo?). Does the word "greed" ring a bell?

Some people are just too dumb to be running around loose!

Was it P.T. Barnum who said, "There is a sucker born every minute … and two to take him"?

G.G. Williams, St. Petersburg

Fund diplomacy for troops' sake | May 31, commentary

Making the world safer

Ken Schatz's column makes sense. Congress needs to continue programs that reduce conditions causing war by fighting ignorance, preventing AIDS, lifting people out of poverty. When these root causes of terrorism are decreased, we will be safer. And the cost to fund this international affairs budget is only 1.4 percent of our national budget.

Even retired military leaders agree that these diplomatic tools for development help promote our national security. We too often underestimate them.

Jean Lersch, St. Petersburg

Monday letters: Through our dependence on oil, we all share in the blame for gulf spill 06/06/10 [Last modified: Monday, June 7, 2010 4:56pm]
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