Oil blankets Pensacola Beach - June 24, story
As July 4 approaches, the bitter irony that our country is no longer independent stares us in the face. We depend on China and other countries for credit. We depend on Canada, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria and other foreign countries for more than half our oil. We have forsaken our freedom and independence to sustain an unsustainable way of life.
We witness daily the fallout from the BP catastrophe: wildlife suffering agonizing deaths, despoiled beaches, marine habitats and ecosystems, entire industries and longtime family businesses shutting down due to the pollution, and many oil production and related businesses in limbo.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the cars and light trucks most people drive account for 61 percent of the oil our country consumes. In their report, "Climate 2030 Blueprint," they identify measures that would significantly increase the fuel efficiency of our vehicles without compromising size, safety or acceleration. These vehicles would provide a bridge to more affordable hybrids, electric and alternative-fueled vehicles as they are developed.
The measures proposed incorporate off-the-shelf technologies such as turbocharged direct-injection gasoline engines, high-efficiency automatic-manual transmissions, engines that shut off instead of wasting fuel while idling, improved aerodynamics and better tires.
A recent UCS study showed an increased cost of about $1,700 for a vehicle manufactured with these technologies. That cost, however, would be more than offset by the fuel savings: almost $3,400 when calculated at $2.50 per gallon of gas. Savings would be even greater using current fuel prices.
We, who cherish our freedom and independence, do not have to wait for our government to mandate the changes necessary for us to wean ourselves from our oil addiction. We can make a start today by demanding more fuel-efficient vehicles. If we don't, our future is unthinkable.
Cindy Deadman Maxwell, Clearwater
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Gulf oil spill
Our lifestyle is in danger
The oil spill in the gulf has everyone concerned about the environment, gas prices, tourism and how we will be affected. Meanwhile, the temporary ban on drilling has been overturned, opening the door to more potential catastrophes off our beaches.
Has anyone thought of the cost to our lifestyle? I live in Florida because I love the sunshine, the beaches, the fishing and our way of life. Do we want to risk our state economy, not to mention the natural beauty of this state, just to save a few bucks at the pump?
Drilling for oil off our shores has long been a no-no, and for good reason. One spill such as what we are seeing now could destroy an entire economic sector which is vital to this state, not to mention destroy our way of life. I say keep the ban on offshore drilling in place.
Florida will never recover the costs of an environmental disaster if we suffer a fate similar to Louisiana's. The lifestyle we enjoy will be ruined, which will further affect the state in lost jobs, lost residents and damaged image. Greed today will always cost you tomorrow! Keep the ban in place! The jobs the industry will bring are but a drop in the bucket compared to the tourism dollars and lifestyle we enjoy.
Perry Ellison, Fort Myers
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Oil drilling moratorium
We still need to drill
A U.S. district judge has overturned the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on oil drilling due to the recent gulf spill. Good for the judge!
We must not let this spill become another Three Mile Island. The Three Mile Island disaster has put this country back 30 years when it comes to nuclear power. France now has 80 percent nuclear power; we have barely 20 percent. No new nuclear reactor has been built in this country in more than 20 years, thanks to those same environmentalists who are now calling for no more oil drilling anywhere in the United States, including Alaska and in the Midwest with its oil shale. We must drill now!
Any politicians who say we need to get off oil dependence now and go to alternative fuels are lying to you. There are no alternatives to fossil fuels now or in the next 20 years! We must do it all - nuclear, coal, solar, wind, and, yes, oil.
If we panicked every time there was a plane crash and grounded every plane for six months, what would happen then? We can drill more safely now if we are allowed to.
Bill Gerretz, St. Petersburg
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Florida rolls dice on pension fund - June 20
A trust violated
The St. Petersburg Times should be commended on the headline Florida rolls dice on pension funds.
During my career, I had the privilege of investing funds for Sarasota County and later for Pinellas County. Except for monies invested in the local government trust fund (State Board of Administration), all bank accounts and certificates of deposit were protected under the public deposits statute.
Initially, public monies were secured by treasuries held by the various clerks of Circuit Court. This was changed in the mid 1980s whereby banks that wanted to hold public funds had to execute agreements with the state. Under these agreements, participating banks agreed to cover any losses from a failing bank. While with Pinellas County, I served on a state committee for this transition. Also, at that time, funds held by the local government trust fund were relatively short-term with conservatively safe investments.
The purpose of this letter is to demonstrate that the investment of public funds has been and should remain, by law and practice, a sacred trust. For SBA to invest in hedge funds is, in my opinion, contrary to this trust. Please do not let this matter die!
Bob Zinn, Dunnellon
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No stars for sentiments - June 25, commentary by Lucian K. Truscott IV
Lucian Truscott has it all wrong. Soldiers don't die for a cause; they die for each other.
If Truscott had served in combat instead of resigning his commission after he graduated from West Point he would have learned that.
Philip Valenti, Lutz
Cartoon of BP lyrics to Woody Guthrie songs June 20
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It's not funny
I opened the Perspective section last Sunday to find on the Opinion page a not funny piece called "Oil Bowl Ballads."
What ever caused the Times to publish this insensitive piece by Andy Marlette from the Pensacola News Journal? .
I've been disappointed with the coverage of the oil disaster in the gulf. Do the editors of the Times live elsewhere? Do they find it something to joke about? And also do they consider Scientology to be our main concern during these times?
Bernadette Menz, Safety Harbor