Offshore oil drilling
Energy crisis needs immediate attention The pain of high gas prices has resulted in outrage among American citizens. It is finally getting the attention of politicians. Presidential hopeful John McCain has recognized this and as a consequence, he has changed his position regarding offshore oil exploration. Our popular governor, Charlie Crist, is now reconsidering his opposition to such a plan. Finally.
Most Florida citizens want to preserve our precious coastlines and will support most reasonable environmental measures. I have been an environmentalist for a long time. However, it is now time to take a new assessment of offshore exploration. Offshore drilling is now done safely and responsibly. It may require revamped governmental supervision, but it can be done right. Offshore drilling has an excellent environmental and safety record.
I have voted Democratic for the past 16 years. This year my vote will go to the candidate and party with a sensible energy plan. Stop trying to calm us with bumper-sticker solutions. I want to know what you promise in detail. In my view this energy plan must consist of at least two vital points:
• We must become oil independent in the next 10 years — and must begin now. We're not looking for short-term fixes. We have the ability. Why do we put our future in the hands of countries whose governments or citizens hate us?
• Congress must require the auto industry to meet CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards that greatly reduce the fuel consumption of our autos.
It is widely believed that Bill Clinton was elected because he preached the slogan: It's the economy, stupid. This year, the slogan needs to be: It's the energy crisis, stupid.
Let the candidates, your congressman and Gov. Crist know how you feel. Don't wait for the next guy to do it.
John E. Stross, St. Petersburg Don't let our coasts be spoiled by desire for oil
The issue of wanting to drill offshore is brought on by desperation, ignorance and greed. Drilling offshore will only make gas prices a few cents per gallon less, according to a news report (Channel 10) this week.
I grew up on the Texas coast where there have been many oil spills. Everyone knows when you go to the beach in Texas to bring baby oil to remove tar balls from your skin because there will always be tar balls from previous spills, which get lodged on the sand bars, loosen and spread for years.
Also, the more oil we produce here, the more we will use — it's just the way we Americans are, unfortunately. We've known for more than 30 years that we need to rely on alternative fuel sources but have been complacent and now "suddenly" it's an emergency.
We need to get off our high horse and take action by learning from other countries' successes. Fellow Floridians, don't be dumbed-down! Do your research and do your part in keeping our coasts beautiful.
Barbara Homan, St. Petersburg
"Leave it to the states" is no energy policy June 18, editorial
McCain's positive step
Is Job 1 nowadays at the St. Petersburg Times to shoot down anything John McCain says? I've taken the Times for years, listen to news radio, watch both broadcast and cable news on TV. In all that, I don't remember ever hearing, reading or watching a single news event describing an ecological disaster that came from an offshore oil rig — anywhere — even after a direct hit on a bunch of them during Hurricane Katrina.
We have an energy crisis and an abundance of oil in the gulf, but we can't open any new rigs offshore because of a federal law prohibiting it. So, with thinking starting to change on offshore drilling, wouldn't Step 1 be to remove the federal law prohibiting it?
Wouldn't the simple truth be that McCain wants to take Step 1 in exploring the possibility of offshore drilling to make a contribution toward energy independence? Do you think it better that he just go around shouting "Hope" and "Change"?
Jeff Reckson, St. Petersburg
Candidate is wrong
I pray to God that Americans aren't so ignorant that they would swallow John McCain's assertion that drilling off Florida's coast would be "very helpful in the short term in resolving our energy crisis."
How could this be of any help in our current "crisis" if this oil wouldn't even reach the pumps for five to eight years? This sounds simply like another Republican tactic of obfuscation, of smoke and mirrors.
It is time to wake up. We have sucked most of the oil out of the planet. It is time we get serious about new technology and start getting over oil. And if the superrich oil companies don't want to get at the forefront of innovation, then our tax dollars should be spent on incentives for those who will.
Trying to get at the few minor deposits left around is like trying to suck out the last sips of a McDonald's soda: really not worth the effort. That is unless you are so addicted to soda that you are willing to sit there making annoying sipping noises until you get every last drop.
Carlos Milan, St. Petersburg
Consider the costs
Here we go again. Another major election year and the hot button issue of drilling for oil in the gulf is again front and center. The Republicans know this will not solve our energy issues, as it will be many years before any of the oil and natural gas is actually pumped. However, to the ordinary citizen it seems like a bright idea as we continue to feel that pain in our pockets when we fill up our tanks each day. The politicians have to be up front with the American people and state the obvious: that this will not solve our problems and if approved today that the pumping will not start tomorrow.
As for Florida, there should be a serious debate on whether we want to take the chance to drill near our coast. If you ever walked on the beaches of Texas, it's really not a pretty sight. And they have not had any major oil spills. One major spill and our pristine beaches will look like black sludge. Our tourist dollars would disappear for a time and we would all be facing higher taxes to pay for that lost tax money.
The debate should include whether you want to pay more for gas and the possibility of more in taxes. For Floridians, it may just be a lose-lose situation.
Jim Steinle, Clearwater
I am getting a strange sense of deja vu hearing John McCain and his good friend, President Bush, advocate an end to the long-standing ban on offshore oil drilling, as well as development of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Their flawed reasoning is that gasoline prices are now topping $4 per gallon and "families … are looking to Washington for a response."
In 2002, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission revealed that Enron Corp. deliberately created real and imaginary shortages during the 2000-2001 California energy crisis in order to drive up prices and Enron's profits. Throughout that "crisis," President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney shamelessly exploited the fabricated energy shortage in California as proof that it was time to expand domestic oil drilling, particularly in the arctic refuge.
How many times can the American people be misled and manipulated by this deceitful and unethical administration? How many times can we allow this administration (and those who aspire to continue its misguided policies) to bully and intimidate us into going along for a ride that we know is going to take us nowhere?
Janet Skinner, Palm Harbor
The pollution factor
In the debate over drilling, one critical question has been forgotten: How much oil can the world burn before the pollution and greenhouse gases cause disastrous consequences?
Burning massive quantities of petroleum amounts to a mad science experiment, where the planet is the laboratory and we are the guinea pigs.
We don't know the full effects of emissions created during the past 30 years, yet an even greater amount of oil will likely be burned in the next 15.
The Earth has amazing cleansing abilities, but if we create greenhouse gases faster than they can be absorbed, our survival could be on the line. In the United States, getting our hands on more oil is about protecting our standard of living. Are we willing to risk our future for that?
Just because oil is available doesn't mean it is okay to burn it.
Chip Thomas, Tampa