Florida politicians who still support drilling? There oughta be a law May 19, Sue Carlton column
Drilling in the gulf is still needed
Sue Carlton's column no doubt echoes the strong emotions felt by many Floridians in the wake of the oil spill in the gulf.
Those emotions are felt by many across the country, including the millions of men and women across the country who work for the nation's oil and natural gas industry — particularly those who live and work along the gulf.
Our industry understands that it is our responsibility to work with the government to stop the leak, clean up the oil and learn from this incident to make certain it never happens again.
The tragic accident has had a profound effect on the industry, just as it has touched all Americans. However, it doesn't change the reality that demand for energy is growing and that we'll need more oil and natural gas to help meet that demand in the coming decades. History has shown that it takes decades for a nation to shift to other energy forms. Consequently, the Gulf of Mexico will remain an essential piece of the nation's energy portfolio.
President Barack Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar struck the right balance when they recently reaffirmed the importance of domestic oil and natural gas production to the nation's strategy for energy and economic security. Yes, we must redouble our efforts to make certain there are no more spills, but shutting off the Gulf of Mexico spigot is not an option. Doing so would have a severe negative effect on the nation's — and Florida's — economy.
Dr. John Felmy, chief economist, American Petroleum Institute, Washington
Beware of these devils
Unfortunately, it appears that Louisiana's Faustian bargain has run its course. It was good, actually very good, while it lasted: jobs, robust economy and political contributions. Offshore drilling employed more than 320,000 people in the state of Louisiana and brought in $70 billion. And then the devil wanted his due. What it will cost is more than was ever made: a fishing and tourism industry that will be ravaged for probably decades. What Katrina broke, the oil spill has dashed the hopes of mending.
For those of us in Florida, we will suffer the collateral damage. So long, Key West vacation; goodbye, lobster season; and adios, South Beach. What we will have this summer is time to reflect, to reflect on how close we were to making our own Faustian bargain. The rally cry was heard across the state: "Drill baby, drill." Now there is silence.
What happened to the politicians who were so eager to sell our soul? They are still there. We'll see their names in November, running for governor, for the Senate and for the House of Representatives.
There has never been another time in Florida's history when the voters' choice will make such an impact. It is up to us to decide whom to trust. We need to be very wary of the devils in disguise.
Richard France, Ph.D., Tampa
A sluggish spill response | May 22, editorial
What about Obama?
Your lead editorial Saturday is seriously defective by the omission of one word: "Obama."
Eight times you used the term "government" without once putting "Obama" in front of the word. In fact, you never mentioned Barack Obama at all.
It wasn't that way back in the Katrina days when you used "Bush" in front of "government" and "administration" and every other way you could assess the blame.
In fact, you and many other left-leaners tend to continue to blame Bush for disasters ranging far into the past, while giving Obama credit for every good thing that happens, irrespective of whether he had any hand in it or not. You never ascribe blame for decisions and directions he's forcing on the nation, which an increasing majority of us despise.
This is rampant inconsistency bordering on cowardice. But, of course, he does mean well …
Norm Lucas, Tampa
It is still so amazing that the engineers, scientists, technicians, BP officials and government regulators did not devise strategies to deal with an explosion at an oil well. This is combustible liquid flowing in the midst of electricity and other combustible gases, and explosions have happened before. With hundreds upon hundreds of "experts" overseeing this operation, it is truly frightening to know how unprepared we are for other emergencies such as a major hurricane.
It doesn't take an advanced degree to see that a whole bunch of people really messed up, including our own governor and other officials in the gulf states, who apparently did not review the emergency plans (or lack thereof) for a somewhat common explosion in a well that is filled with combustible oil.
Rand Moorhead, St. Petersburg
Where's the leadership?
I have a valid question for President Barack Obama after watching and reading about the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Who is running this country, Mr. President, you or BP? At this point it sure appears that BP is calling the shots, and I am disgusted with your lack of leadership in this huge crisis.
J. Kenney, Seminole
Plea to Obama: Do more | May 25, story
Doing his best
President Barack Obama has handled this crisis in the best way possible given the resources and what his professionals in the field have advised. BP has the resources to clean up their mess and Obama is bringing all possible weight to bear upon the oil giant. Where is the forgotten GOP slogan "Drill, baby, drill," and why has that not been a focus of your news reports?
Christopher Curley, Sun City Center
Players off script
Let me get this straight: Our supposed big-government-loving president, Barack Obama, says he will let a private business, BP, run the cleanup project, not the government. Supposed private-enterprise-loving Sarah Palin criticizes this and says the government should have taken a bigger role.
If, as Shakespeare said, all the world's a stage, these actors are certainly confused over their lines.
Lee Kasner, Tampa
Republicans fought to protect the insurance companies, despite our having the most expensive health care system in the world (and rated only 37th). Republicans now fight to block increased regulation of the banking industry, despite deregulation permitting a severe recession. Republicans also supported the deregulation of oil companies with the resulting oil spill catastrophe.
Shouldn't we fear corporate power more than government power? In a democracy, you can vote the government out. With corporate dominance, even disasters don't provoke reform.
Paul W. Hitchens, St. Petersburg