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Tampa Bay’s gas comes by ship, not pipeline | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
Gasoline tankers pass by the Colonial Pipeline storage tanks in Austell, Georgia, on Monday.
Gasoline tankers pass by the Colonial Pipeline storage tanks in Austell, Georgia, on Monday. [ JOHN SPINK / JOHN.SPINK@AJC.COM | AJC ]
Published May 13

How gas gets to Florida

Paralyzed pipeline fuels spike at pump | May 12

Our company supplies gasoline on the West Coast of Florida for Shell, Exxon Mobil, Marathon and Rally stations. The problems with the Colonial Pipeline have no impact on gasoline supplies in the Tampa Bay area simply because all of our petroleum comes to Tampa by ship and barge. But today, panic buying by uninformed people buying at rates far above normal are draining tanks faster than our trucks can refill them. We are at our delivery limits trying to keep product in stores, even as there is no shortage in the tanks in Port Tampa Bay. This “shortage” is caused by customer behavior, not a problem in a faraway pipeline. This is the same problem we deal with every hurricane season when drivers rush to their station to top off when a storm threatens. It is the same cause that kept toilet paper shelves empty this time last year. Repeat: We have plenty of gas, so if we will only purchase what we normally need, the “shortage” here will disappear. Just be patient and give us a chance to catch up!

Bud Risser, St. Petersburg

In the public eye

An Open Letter to the Tampa Bay Community | Ad, May 12

In his letter to the Tampa community, Brian Leen, the president and CEO Gopher Resource, offered reassurances that safety is a primary value for his company. I was glad to read this letter and relieved to know that this company is taking steps to correct some pretty terrible working conditions. However, I think one of the most important things I noticed about this letter was that “Paid Advertisement” was printed three times across the top of the letter in the Tampa Bay Times.

While on a personal level, I am very grateful that so many batteries are recycled as opposed to filling our landfills, and I’m sure that this is a very messy job, I noticed that the push for safety and adhering to environmental policy did not take place until the EPA took notice and also OSHA eventually decided to visit the site and evaluate this company’s safety performance as a third-party inspector. The fact that the Times carefully covered the story and brought the problems into a public spotlight created a situation where now the company feels a strong impetus to do “the right thing.”

In a world where “fake news” so often becomes the excuse for absolutely dreadful behavior, both at a personal and corporate level, it is such a refreshing breath of air to see a government protection agency doing what it is supposed to do; and having a strong media outlet bringing the story to the public’s attention. That, in my opinion, is why we saw full-page paid advertisement “letter” from a large corporation to its constituency. It is because they were held accountable for past negative behaviors. And that is why I am sure we will see great improvements for the employees and the environment at the Gopher Resources battery recycling plant in Tampa in the months and years to come.

Robert Bardach, Trinity

Who is muzzling whom?

House GOP ousts Trump critic Liz Cheney from top post | May 12

House Republicans oust Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position for speaking her mind yet yell from the rooftops about how social media denies them, and Donald Trump, their rights to free speech. Talk about double standards. They have fallen so far and yet continue digging their hole, in my opinion, even deeper. It’s time for people to say, “I’m fed up and not going to take it any longer.” That goes for Gov. Ron DeSantis, too. Taxpayers’ money is going to support religious schools, with vouchers, and that joins state and religion, which our forefathers were against in our Constitution. It’s time we take back our state’s government. We should be a state and country of the people, for the people! Just as it was meant to be.

Robert Workman, Spring Hill

No and no

The South had a right to secede | Letter, May 11

This letter makes two serious errors, turning misinformation into “fact.” First is this claim: “It (the Confederate battle flag) represents the Confederacy, it does not represent slavery.” The Confederacy’s allegiance was to the fight for maintenance of the South’s major economic engine: slavery. There is no disagreement among historians about this; the Civil War was fought by the South over the right to own human beings. Thus, that flag is overtly about slavery. Second, is this false claim: “The folks making up the Confederacy were not traitors. They simply were striving to protect their legal rights of secession. The signers of the Constitution agreed upon the right to secede. Secession was legal. Look it up.”

I did look it up: Secession was not only not legal, nor enshrined in the Constitution, it was feared and scorned, as seen from this statement during the debates over the Articles of Confederation: “So great a number will put it in the power of a few by seceding at a critical moment to introduce convulsions, and endanger the government.” Although states are sovereign, they’ve all agreed to the compact that is the Constitution, which did not give them a method for for exiting. This is a prime example of the type of self-delusion that spreads as though it were fact. Rewriting history is not a data set; fabrication is not fact-finding.

Terri Benincasa, Palm Harbor

No big needles!

Florida has entered an unsettling stage of the COVID pandemic | Editorial, May 11

Overcoming at least some of COVID vaccine hesitancy, news media should stop showing video of long needles being plunged all the way into arms over and over. It’s enough to make anyone squeamish!

Bonnie Agan, St. Petersburg

Related: What’s going on with gas right now? Here’s how Florida is affected