Florida doesn't need more nuclear power | Jan. 16, commentary
Nuclear saves money in long run
A Washington-based antinuclear activist with the Union of Concerned Scientists suggested our customers are being "forced to pay" for new nuclear projects in the state "regardless of whether the reactors will ever get built."
Florida Power & Light customers currently pay $2.20 a month to support enhancements to our state's nuclear portfolio. About 90 percent of that money is being invested in upgrading our existing nuclear facilities. These upgrades will effectively save our customers $141 million in the first year of operation, and $4.8 billion in fossil fuel costs over their lifetime.
The remaining 10 percent of the nuclear investment charge pays for licensing costs associated with our proposed nuclear units at Turkey Point. Over its lifetime these new plants would save FPL customers about $75 billion in fuel costs — far more than it would cost to build the plants themselves. All licensing costs are scrutinized by the state's Public Service Commission. This money is spent strictly on licensing in a "pay-as-you-go" approach and cannot be used to "prepay" for future construction.
Improving the efficiency of existing facilities and creating clean-energy options for the future are important for our state. Today, over half of Florida's electricity is generated by burning natural gas. While this has benefits, without fuel diversity it also presents a risk to our customers should prices rise in the coming years.
Importantly, FPL believes that conservation is an important part of the equation and, in fact, according to U.S. Department of Energy data, FPL ranks No. 2 in the nation in cumulative demand reduction from energy conservation programs. We recognize that nuclear is not the only answer to Florida's future energy challenges, but it is part of the solution.
Michael Sole, vice president, Florida Power & Light, Tallahassee
Komen drops plan to cut parenthood funds Feb. 4
Who is kidding whom? Susan G. Komen for the Cure releases a statement that they are reversing their decision to cut Planned Parenthood funding because they don't want "their mission marred or affected by politics — anyone's politics."
I believe a letter from 26 U.S. senators — 25 Democrats and one independent — asking Komen to reconsider its decision certainly constitutes some obvious form of political persuasion. Additionally, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's pledge of $250,000 to Planned Parenthood adds another political element to the mix.
Chief executive Nancy Brinker should exercise some probity in her Neville Chamberlain-like appeasement to the proabortion faction that disguises their real agenda behind the outward semblance of saving women's lives through breast cancer screenings.
The Feb. 4 Times editorial that takes the position that a "groundswell of activism from a wide swath of people can undo a wrong" is a slap in the face to the other swath of people who support Komen's initial decision. Prolifers have just as much concern and compassion for the unborn as they do for those who are seeking breast-cancer awareness.
Earl A. Myers Jr., Tampa
Komen hopes to rebuild trust | Feb. 5
Good works tainted
Advocates for women's health and hard-working, pink-clad volunteers should take heed. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation's attack on Planned Parenthood is the tip of the iceberg.
Jessica Pieklo, writing on the Care2 website, reports that Komen has canceled $12 million in funds to research centers at Johns Hopkins, the University of Kansas, the U.S. National Cancer Institute, Yale University and the Society for Women's Health Research — all because these centers have proposed projects related to stem cell research.
Supporting Komen used to be like motherhood and apple pie. Now its good works are tainted by politics.
We are losing our common cause as Americans, as there are fewer and fewer endeavors that we can all support. Demand that our time-honored organizations remain free of politics and devoted to the good of all.
Karen Knop, St. Pete Beach
OneBlood new name for blood centers Jan. 28
Roll up your sleeves
This article brought two thoughts to mind. January was National Blood Donor Month, and America needs more quiet heroes. February is Black History Month, and Dr. Charles R. Drew (1904-1950) is regarded as the founder of American blood banking.
Only 4 percent of the eligible population provide the red cells, platelets and plasma needed every two seconds among a population of 300 million-plus Americans. There are two good reasons and one great one to donate blood.
First, it's good for the donor, who receives a mini-medical checkup. Second, it's good for the community that a safe and ample blood supply is maintained.
Finally, it's great for trauma, transplant, burn, cancer and anemia patients. They are grateful beyond words that a quiet hero used 30 minutes to provide a lifesaving gift. The American melting pot needs all races and all blood types to step forward and roll up their sleeves.
Bob Wise, Tampa
Casino proposal folds in House | Feb. 4
We need the jobs — now
I don't go to any of the Seminole Indian casinos, and I have never set foot in an Internet cafe. But I am disappointed over the intense lobbying and political infighting by a House panel that postponed a vote that would have granted casino licenses to develop destination casinos in South Florida.
This issue should be based on pure and simple economics: We need jobs in Florida, now. The unemployment figure for December was 9.9 percent. Homelessness and residential and business foreclosures are on the rise.
The obvious opponents to these new casinos — Disney, Seminole gaming, South Florida's racetrack-casino operators, and certain self-serving politicians — have displayed little concern for our citizens' welfare and livelihoods.
Gambling is not going away any time soon.
Mike Merino, Tampa