Gulf oil spill
Let government focus on cleanup
This administration has bailed out U.S. automakers and U.S. banks, which cost billions. They immediately sent millions of dollars and resources to Haiti and Chile after earthquakes there. Now one of our own 50 states, Louisiana, is pleading daily, crying out for action from this administration.
The people of Louisiana know the government can't stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Let BP focus solely on the hole in the well. This oil giant is failing horribly in the cleanup process and this is profoundly frightening! It appears that BP doesn't have a process in place at all for this!
The residents of Louisiana desperately need the government's help in keeping the oil from their shores. That's the kind of help that Louisiana needs from this administration. The government must deploy an army of vessels and resources necessary to skim oil from the surface before more oil reaches the Louisiana shores and send the bill to BP.
BP is not taking the aggressive action necessary that they promised they would by keeping the oil from the Gulf Coast shores and fragile marshes. This is outrageous.
Our government must make every effort to protect our gulf and coastal communities from the incompetencies and failures of this greedy oil company. Our gulf is bleeding profusely. If this administration continues to look the other way, and not immediately take command over this enormous failure of BP regarding the way they are not cleaning up, there is no doubt that oil will be arriving soon at a beach near you.
L. Taylor, St. Petersburg
Whose blowout is it, anyway? | May 30
We need to stop poisoning ourselves
Charles Krauthammer's take on the oil spill is surreal. If he's seriously supporting drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as environmentally acceptable because it's on land, what do the words "Wildlife Refuge" mean to him?
Though underwater leaks are clearly more than deadly, driving most of the animals in the refuge out of their remaining habitat with noise and physical destruction and poisoning the rest with escaped oil would destroy one more ecosystem in a world that's running out of them.
As for drilling in arctic waters, take the current engineering problems and compound them with frigid surface weather and even colder depths. There might be fewer humans living in Alaska than around the gulf, but oil spreads, as we'll probably be seeing on our shores soon.
The way to prevent such sickening catastrophes isn't to shift drilling around until we find a place where the residents don't protest fast enough. It's to stop drilling. We still have huge unemployment and some of the out-of-work people are engineers, or construction workers, or manufacturers. The environmental impacts of solar, wind and tidal energy are much less than those of oil drilling or coal mining, even when everything goes right. Let's stop poisoning ourselves.
Kathryn Dorn, Tampa
BP's new reality show
As part of its penance for its sins in the gulf, will our president and/or our Congress please commit BP to sponsor a reality show to be named, "Plug the Hole — Win a Billion"?
The show's format is simple. Anyone, or any company, anywhere in the world who first devises a way that actually plugs the gusher in the gulf wins a billion dollars. BP pays the billion, a fraction of its first-quarter profits, and the show's winner has to give up its patent rights to a new company whose only shareholders will be the families of the 11 oil rig workers killed, and the bankrupted fishing families of the Gulf Coast.
Then any oil company with an existing lease from the United States, and all new leases to drill for oil in the gulf (some 4,000 on the books already), will have to buy one of these new "Gusher Plugs" for a cool billion. This is how government and the free enterprise system can excel if they just put their energies together.
Frank Parker, Tierra Verde
Drilling in the gulf is still needed | May 26, letter
In reading Dr. John Felmy's letter to the editor it seems to me that since he is chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute that he can be nothing but in favor of "Drill, baby, drill."
However, he writes: "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."
Florida's economy is based in large part on its beaches and fishing, oyster harvest and shrimping. The impact of an oil spill such as we have now certainly has a negative effect on Florida's economy.
It is now time to stop drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and start going to other forms of energy — wind, water, sun. These are clean forms of energy and the time to start changing is now.
Jean Centore, New Port Richey
Voters should be wary of right turn | May 28, letter
One of the few advantages of growing older is that one is aware of how things were and how things are now.
A case in point is the current controversy swirling around the Texas textbook brouhaha.
The headlines and the signs wielded by kids too young to know better protesting the "rewriting" of history by the Texas State Board of Education about changes made to the textbooks are completely inaccurate.
I went to school in Hillsborough County in the '60s, exposed to the history and social science textbooks of the time. My kids attended school in the '90s in Pennsylvania, and I can affirm without a doubt that the '90s texts that I reviewed were very different from the those used earlier. There was a very obvious skewing to the left, with political correctness very evident along with a hint of the global approach that we see today (i.e. the glorifying of the United Nations and its impact on everyday life).
Comparing the content of the texts of these different eras would demonstrate that the "rewriting" of our history, "filtered through the lens of political ideology" commenced sometime between the '60s and the '90s and has taken our history far to the left.
A more accurate description of the Texas board's activities is that they are "restoring" our history, not rewriting it.
Tom Waldbart, Wesley Chapel
A salute for service | May 31
I was disappointed to see that U.S. Rep Kathy Castor took the opportunity to politically praise herself on Memorial Day. However, I was more disturbed to see that your Opinion section gave her nearly a half of a page to do so!
As I read the article I first thought that it would be a poignant "remembrance" to our fallen heros. Instead, it turned out to be a political self-promotion. Very, very inappropriate.
Philip Joyce, Hernando Beach