Can we break free of oil's grip?
Shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, pundits and political leaders raised the alarm that dependence on oil had brought this tragedy to our shores. The editorials and speeches against foreign oil filled every newsstand and podium. Despite all the heat, no light was shed on breaking that dependence.
The fact is, even if we Americans had the discipline and willingness to make the sacrifices required to break ourselves of our billion-dollar-a-day habit, other nations would quickly fill the gap and money would continue to flow to countries and regimes that did not have a great deal of love for America.
This debate is not about foreign oil; it is about all oil. For transportation, we have no option but oil. We have talked about it for decades, but invested little in it. We do provide about $35 billion annually to oil companies in the form of subsidies and tax breaks. Oil remains the only strategic commodity for which we will fight wars. Having spent 26 years in uniform with the attendant education and experience, I feel qualified to speak to the national security implications of our energy insecurity.
Today, almost a decade after the horrendous events of that Tuesday morning, another tragedy is coming to our shores. The disaster brought about by our unquenchable thirst and BP's ineptness are bringing waves of oil to our shores. The impact of the heartbreaking sight of sea life and beautiful beaches being destroyed should spur in all of us desire to change. In military parlance, the purpose of tactics is to make the other guy run out of options first. We are the other guy and we have run out of options.
If we are serious about reducing our national security risk and the loss of the lives of our sons and daughters, we must be willing to sacrifice. If we want to keep at home the billion dollars a day we send overseas for oil we must pay the price for alternatives. If we want to prevent the next Deepwater Horizon we must eliminate the unquenchable thirst that forces us to suck our SUV life blood out of an ocean floor a mile down. We must hold our political leadership and ourselves accountable. We all know the litany of what must be done. The question is, do Americans still have what it takes to win this Gulf War?
Dan Nolan, Valrico
Gulf oil spill
Protect the deep pockets
Let me see, AIG was too big to fail, so we bailed them out. GMC was to big to fail and we bailed them out too. And Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, etc. Do you see the pattern that has developed here? They were all bailed out to protect us from their demise, which would have hurt us even worse if they hadn't been protected from going under.
So here's the conundrum: If we don't also protect BP from the rightly enraged Gulf Coast communities, but especially from opportunistic, greedy lawyers, it just might backfire for us. If these lawyers are allowed to kill the giant who has all the beans we will be left with nothing but cents on the dollar.
If there ever was a corporation today that needs to succeed it's BP. So put down your signs and fill 'er up at their gas stations. And for God's sake hope they don't go belly up, because if BP does, that will only leave you and me to clean up the mess and pay for their bill.
Raymond Brown, Apollo Beach
We all have a share in the blame | June 7, letter
New rules needed
Maybe we all do have a share in the blame, but what choice do we really have? Unless one lives in a rural area with a horse, buggy, barn and acreage to grow fodder for the horse, how are we supposed to get around in a city?
Most of us use gasoline. Here are a few suggestions. Before any permit to drill for oil in the gulf is approved there should be a proven method to cap a wellhead dysfunction. Until that happens no permits should be allowed to drill there by our government. Increase wind farm production as was stated in a few letters lately. It's ludicrous and bordering on insane to squash that alternative energy source.
Finally, the Legislature should change the building code in Florida. Every new residence should be fitted totally solar. Those homes could be putting power back into the grid and eventually recoup the initial added cost of the panels and labor.
In the meantime my heart goes out to the surviving family members of those killed in the accident and all our fellow citizens losing their livelihoods because of this disaster.
Garret Maunula, Spring Hill
Whose blowout is it, anyway? | May 30, Charles Krauthammer column
According to Charles Krauthammer, environmentalists are the real culprits behind the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. On the contrary, environmentalists have been calling for an end to the oil-based economy and demanding a massive increase in funding for research and development of alternative energy sources for more than 40 years. Solar, wind and hydrothermal energy pose none of the risks that oil does.
You'd think a catastrophe like this would make Krauthammer and his fellow conservatives question their fanatical antienvironmental ideology. But the venom of his writing proves his zealous crusade against all commonsense things remains unshaken.
Jeff Adams, St. Petersburg
Thank you, Tampa Bay. I am British and a lot of my business associates at home are concerned about anti-British sentiment in the United States after the BP oil disaster.
I am pleased to say we have encountered no negative comment. Everyone we've met in offices, factories, airports, restaurants, has been as welcoming as ever. And everyone who can do anything about the oil spill seems to be doing it.
We so appreciate the good sense and hospitality of Floridians we've posted an entry about a beach walk. You can read it and see photographs at http://www.theframptonfiles.blogspot.com/. Thank you, Tampa Bay.
Roger Frampton, Clearwater
The oily bird
The gushing oil in the gulf is a total catastrophe. Once again when faced with such a tragedy, the lack of action and effective response from our government is an insult and slap in the face to all Americans. And once again we are at the mercy of politicians and a foreign oil company attempting to save their well and their bottom line.
Based on what we will probably be facing for years, I believe that images of the oil-covered pelican should replace the eagle as our national bird.
Nina Hoochuk, Apollo Beach