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Thursday letters

Fla. officials: BP plan is inadequate | May 3, story

Safety measures were lacking

First I must express how appalled I am over the way the gulf oil spill has been addressed. The finger-pointing and placing blame on who is responsible for what doesn't negate the fact that a major disaster is taking place. Our government, military and BP should be working together to stop the irrevocable damage this leak will cause to the environment, wildlife, livelihoods of many people and the economy of the states affected. BP is indeed the major culprit, but it is a typical company trying to make the most with spending the least.

With the state of the art technology in this day and age, I can't conceive that there are not fail-safe systems installed that can shut off (either electronically or manually) the oil flow in any type of emergency. I agree with Capt. J.R. Hinojosa, of the Blue Marlin Water Taxi on Pensacola Beach who said, "I would have thought that there were better safety measures on these rigs." Look into this, President Obama!

This country will never be oil independent but will remain dependent on such industries as fishing and tourism. Not only is this spill threatening the environment and wildlife but severely jeopardizing these industries as well. This tragedy is a very hard way to realize that the risk of offshore oil drilling is not worth the consequences, and that is indeed a shame!

Jack Burlakos, Kenneth City

One accident shouldn't make us quit gulf drilling

When three Apollo astronauts died a horrible, fiery death, did we abandon John Kennedy's dream of going to the moon? No. We figured out what was wrong, fixed it, and our nation proudly wrote a new chapter in world history.

After two different space shuttle catastrophes, did we fearfully end the manned space program? No. Again, we solved the problem, made things safer and continued to advance science for the good of all humanity.

Now, the Sunshine State — and America itself — has to decide what to do with offshore drilling after a terrible accident killed 11 people and hurt the environment. So, do we just give up? Many of our leaders say we should stop offshore drilling. It's just too unsafe. It's too risky.

I disagree, and I believe the countless voices of Americans who have come before us, would feel the same. One calamity and fear of some future event shouldn't be enough for us to abandon our nation's future.

Like it or not, until something else better is developed, our nation's economy, its very security, must have a dependable supply of oil and natural gas.

Of course, we all want cleaner energy. And someday, hopefully sooner than later, we will have it. But it remains an inconvenient truth that the technology just isn't there yet to steer the world's largest economy away from petroleum.

So, yes, we must still "Drill, baby, drill." I just hope we still have some leaders — and regular, everyday folks — with enough courage to say that.

Michael Kersmarki, Tampa

The beach in a jar

I've buried both parents and I buried my dog. I've said goodbye to people I didn't want to leave and I've left places when I didn't want to go. Last Sunday morning, I pedaled my bicycle to Clearwater Beach and locked it up at Pier 60. I walked out on the sand south of the pier and filled a small jar with pure, perfect, brilliant white sand. I put the jar back in my pack and pedaled home. It was the saddest thing I've ever done.

I know all things change, but to see all of this change for the worse, for nothing less than laziness and greed, is an astounding disappointment and a thorough condemnation of our misguided priorities. I won't say I didn't look back. The view from the top of the bridge is still beautiful — but for how much longer? A week? A month?

The sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig has become an event horizon in its own right. Will the oil reach the beach? Or is it simply a matter of when? In a jar on my workbench, next to all the jars of bicycle parts, is a jar of pure, perfect, brilliant white sand from Clearwater Beach. I want to remember it all as it was, and as I hope it will be. I will save what I saved, seeing as how we aren't smart enough to protect the rest of it.

Chip Haynes, Clearwater

BP needs to pay

Spokesmen for BP claim their company is doing everything possible to mitigate the damage from their oil spill. Until I hear that BP is hiring and outfitting crews sufficient to rescue and treat all of the birds and other wildlife that are, and will be, impacted, I'm not convinced.

There are not enough volunteers or funds to pay for supplies, such as Dawn dishwashing liquid, paper towels, rubber gloves, brushes and cages. And the recent announcement by BP that they are going to pay for all damages should be unconditional, not what BP determines to be reasonable.

Florida is in imminent danger of being financially and ecologically damaged for years to come. BP should also pay claims for diminished value to property, especially those near the coastline. Who is going to want to buy a home with a view of an oil slick?

European countries require the use of redundant safeguards that are not required here. The Democrats have been in control of Congress for about three years. Why have they not required more safety measures? You can blame the "big business" Republicans all you want, but the facts are the Democrats are in power and oil company lobbyists are the driving force. Not your fault, President Obama? Really?

Richard Golden, San Antonio

Why no safety valves?

In a recent article it was mentioned that Norway and Brazil require oil wells to have cutoff valves that can be remotely activated by a radio signal. But of course, the United States does not have such a requirement.

I think you should follow up on that and tell readers 1) how much does such a valve cost per well, 2) how many wells does BP control, 3) what is the comparison between the total cost for fitting all BP wells with such valves, and the total cost of this oil spill.

Thank you for your excellent reporting on this issue. But please follow up on how these commonsense measures were not taken, and how the U.S. government is totally failing to protect the public from private industry.

Geoff Bishop, Tampa

No reason to give up

The word for the oil spill is an "accident." Unless of course it was sabotage, which it looks like it isn't.

If there is a airplane crash, you don't shut down all the airlines. You figure out what caused the crash, fix the problem if there was one, and go on flying. The same for auto accidents. You find out what caused the accident. You don't ban cars. You go on driving

The same goes for the oil spill accident. You have to find out what caused it, fix the problem but never, never, never let up on oil drilling.

Dr. John Lallemand, Dade City

The drilling folly

I am very scared, not for me, but for nature and wildlife. The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will hurt all creatures. When the price of seafood goes up, should we be surprised?

Beaches and the affiliated wildlife are a big part of Florida's survival. Florida does not value teachers, police officers or other low paid workers, but we do value our coasts!

I have lived in Florida for 40 years, and up to now have been very proud to call Florida my home. Given the recent oil spill, the lawmakers in Tallahassee, and the current unemployment, I understand why Florida is losing residents!

Residents of Florida must unite, and spread the message: We do not want drilling off of the shores of Florida! The coastline is one of our natural resources, and beauties. Let's keep it that way!

The people who said, "Drill baby drill" are probably thinking twice now, or so it is hoped!

Mark Grantham, Gulfport

Thursday letters 05/05/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 6, 2010 1:34am]
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