America should be leading the world in energy efficiency

Letters to the Editor
Published April 29, 2005

Re: Energy irresponsibility, editorial, April 27.

It is hard to imagine that in this year of 2005 this is the best the United States can come up with for the new House energy bill.

The United States should and could be the leader in energy efficiency and alternative forms of energy. We can be a role model for all others to follow - leading the way in innovative technologies, energy independence and building up a new market in alternative fuel sources.

Bio-diesel fuel alone could bolster our economy and provide our nation's farmers with a viable cash crop that could be used as a supplement to sustainable farming practices.

It would be nice to live in a world that values what is in the best interests of the people and the planet.

-- Danie Lee Cutler, Belleair Beach

Make the effort to conserve

Re: Energy irresponsibility.

The Times editorial staff puts responsibility for energy conservation measures on the government but makes no mention of our responsibilities as individuals to conserve energy. To highlight we can:

Drive more fuel efficient vehicles, drive slower in city and highway. When demand for hybrid and lower horsepower vehicles increases, auto manufacturers will respond in kind.

Buy and build housing reasonably sized verses huge homes and mansions that require high energy needs.

Let's start talking personal responsibility and not blame market conditions that respond to our demands. Much discussion is needed now among our citizenry to come up with ways to personally make a difference to use less energy.

-- Chris Kramer, St. Petersburg

We can't go on like this

Re: Energy irresponsibility.

As the president and Congress attempt to remedy the energy crisis by subsidizing oil companies, relaxing laws that protect our environment, promoting nuclear power, and preparing for more resource wars in Iran, Venezuela and Nigeria, oil on the planet is steadily running out. The rationale behind "what passes for energy policy in this administration" comes from our bipartisan ideological commitment to a never-ending expansion of the economy. Measures will be taken to ensure that we as a people can continue splurging on fossil fuels.

However, there is growing awareness that very dangerous consequences are inherent in such reckless and irresponsible policy. This business of more gas, more cars, more roads, more processed and transported foods - dare I say more tourism? - cannot continue as usual for long.

There is compelling evidence that oil production has peaked, topped out. The needle on the world's gas gauge indicates the tank is half full, or more ominously, half empty. From now on, there will be less and less petroleum pumping from the wells. And it will cost more and more to purchase and refine.

There is a great silence in America regarding this reality. Admitting to ourselves that everything must change once cheap energy goes away forever will be the most difficult thing we've ever had to do. To pretend there is no need to reconsider our commitment to an economic system that relentlessly depletes natural resources is like making believe the polar ice cap isn't melting. Time has come to think about creative changes. We, as a community, can do this.

It is good news that the St. Petersburg Times has at last broken the media silence in this area.

-- Robert Alicea, Tampa Bay Post Carbon Council, Madeira Beach

Nobody is looking ahead

Re: Saudis pledge to boost oil supply.

Saudi Arabia can provide us with more crude oil, but our oil refineries are working at near capacity. The number of oil refineries in the United States has drastically decreased over the years and their age has increased. Building refineries is not as profitable as other endeavors, but they are needed.

If Saudi oil minister last year proposed to build two new giant refineries in the United States, why did the offer "generate little U.S. enthusiasm?" China and India picked up that ball as soon as we dropped it.

Meanwhile there is plenty of enthusiasm for drilling in Alaska, and perhaps soon on the coast of Florida. At the same time, there is not one conservation measure in the administration's new energy bill. Our government has not stressed conservation since Jimmy Carter was president. American car companies are still making and selling gas guzzlers.

One of the first things our current administration did when it came into power was to cut funding for alternative energy research. It sure seems like nobody is looking ahead.

We would know for sure if Vice President Dick Cheney's secret private energy meetings, where he was consulted by the infamous Ken Lay, were to made public. We have a right to know. Let's pick up that ball.

-- Debbie Terhune, Treasure Island

It looks like begging

For a president who promised us both in 2000 and 2004 that he would decrease our dependence upon foreign sources of oil, the pictures of him with the Saudi prince in Crawford, Texas, is the image of promises not kept.

When you see our Texas oilman president holding hands with those Arab royalty, it looks to me as though he is begging! So ask not what what you can do for your country but rather what our president can do for his Saudi buddies! These are the same folk who fund terroristic, anti-American efforts with the windfall profits from selling us oil at inflated prices!

-- Patrick J. Conrey, Spring Hill

Protect our wild places from drilling

Re: Vote on arctic drilling.

Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - one of America's last wild places - just doesn't make sense. The area is America's premier birthing ground for caribou and polar bears, and supports large populations of migratory birds. And there is not much oil there, less than a year's worth at current rates of consumption, so drilling there will not solve our energy problems or lower the price of a gallon of gas.

What's worse, it could be just a prelude to drilling in other sensitive spots around the country, such as, off the Florida coast. Indeed, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay recently said allowing drilling in the refuge would be a "precedent" for allowing drilling elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the budget Congress is currently considering contains a back door provision that would allow the destruction of this great American wilderness and pave the way for drilling everywhere.

Florida's Democrats should keep fighting for America's arctic and wild places everywhere by opposing this measure when it next comes up for a vote.

-- Steve Verzwyvelt, St. Petersburg