Why is the public paying for a phosphate leak into Tampa Bay? | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Friday’s letters to the editor.
A view of a phosphogypsum stack, far, background, and water management at HRK Holdings’ property off Buckeye Road on Tuesday in Palmetto,  where wastewater is suspected to be leaking at the old Piney Point phosphate plant.
A view of a phosphogypsum stack, far, background, and water management at HRK Holdings’ property off Buckeye Road on Tuesday in Palmetto, where wastewater is suspected to be leaking at the old Piney Point phosphate plant. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD ]
Published Apr. 2
Updated Apr. 2

Corporate welfare?

Leak at old phosphate plant could cause discharges into Tampa Bay | March 30

Why is a privately created problem that endangers the public not being handled and paid for privately with public oversight? Surely the possibility of overflowing storage ponds must have been foreseen and planned for? If the only safe way to handle the problem is to truck away the water, let the corporation responsible, which has profited all these years, pay for it. If the wastewater can be treated, let the company pay for its own treatment plant or at least pay the public for using ours.

Sara Jeffries, Tampa

Help each other out

Suspect arrested in attack on Asian American woman in NYC | March 31

The story of a 65-year-old Asian woman being assaulted in broad daylight in Manhattan is reprehensible. We, as a society, need to stand up to this abuse. The group has bystander intervention training. They recommend what they call the 5D’s. These are Distract, Delegate, Document, Delay and Direct.

Distracting is described as a “subtle and creative” way to intervene. You can pretend to be lost and ask for direction or accidentally spill your coffee or change in your wallet. Delegate means to ask others to get involved. If someone had asked the men inside the building to help the woman, maybe the move could have changed the attack. Document refers to videotaping, including the street name and day and time. Delay refers to asking the person who was attacked if they are okay and if they need you to stay or walk with them. Direct means calling the abuse out and saying things like that’s inappropriate or disrespectful.

Of course, helping involves keeping yourself safe. But many times calling out verbal abuse or using the other ideas from can make a difference. We are our brothers’ keeper.

Ann Jamieson, St. Petersburg

Yes to higher gas prices

Rising price at the pump -- a look under the hood | Column, March 26

The column by Nicholas Loris, an economist with the Heritage Foundation, explains why gas prices are rising but misses the opportunity to explain why this should be considered a good thing. The majority of economists agree that a gradual increase in carbon fuel prices is the single most effective, quickest and politically acceptable method to reduce atmospheric carbon emissions that are causing climate change. Even the American Petroleum Institute (API) announced it is in favor of carbon pricing. Higher gas prices creates added incentives for energy companies, industries and consumers to move toward cleaner, cheaper options.

A bill recently introduced in the House of Representatives, called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, will reduce carbon fuel emissions by 40 percent in the first 12 years. It places a fee on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. It starts low and grows over time. The money collected from the carbon fee is allocated in equal shares every month to the American people to spend as they see fit. The payments to most low- and middle-income families will be equal to or more than the increases in fuel costs. This is a no-brainer policy, with little to no financial impacts to families, but with huge impacts to maintaining a livable planet, while we still have one.

John Parks, St. Petersburg

No time to waste

Florida House Republicans vote to pass controversial ‘anti-rioting’ legislation | March 26

Cleverly disguised as an “anti-riot bill,” a far-reaching bill threatening citizens’ rights to assemble and exercise free speech is working its way through the Legislature. Among other things, it would extend stand-your-ground rights to people who feel “threatened” by a group of protesters. It also gives the state veto power over some changes to local police funding and budgets. It gives broad discretionary power to the government to define “protest,” “riot” and “violence.”

I wonder if the sponsors and supporters of the bill are aware that the sword swings both ways. Protesters at abortion clinics, for example, would be fair game for prosecution, under some circumstances. That sound of chipping you hear is the work of the Legislature, knocking chunks out of our constitutional rights. Now is the time to contact your legislator and say, “No, thanks, to HB 1.” Its next victim could be you, since the line between “rioter” and “protester” is so blurred in this bill as to be invisible.

Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg