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Will carbon dioxide disposal idea work in Florida?, 12/17

Published December 17, 2006


Carbon goes undercover Dec. 11

Do you remember chemistry lab when you bubbled carbon dioxide through water? When rainwater percolates deep into the land surface of Florida, what do you get? The result is a weak solution of carbonic acid. And, what does that acid do? It dissolves limestone, a process that contributes to the formation of sinkholes and other karstic features.

While the article intended to provide helpful information on a procedure for disposal of carbon dioxide from power plants, the approach used is primarily from an engineering viewpoint. That is, will it physically work? But the chemical, biological and geological effects need to be addressed.

While such a method of disposal might work and is acceptable in oil and gas fields because of the generally lower quality of the groundwaters associated with petroleum resources, it is likely not to be environmentally suitable for use in Florida. The potential effect on the Floridan aquifer is not known.

Many of Florida's environmental impacts have resulted from accepting purely physical solutions to a problem. A rush by the power industry and its engineer consultants, many of whom probably had only a one-semester course in geology, much less a hydrogeology or geochemistry background, to employ this procedure is to be looked at with considerable caution.

John Miller, Tampa

Sports stadiums lose ground as boon to cities Dec. 4

Teams need to pay for their own stadiums

It is time for sports teams and leagues to build their own stadiums and arenas and quit intimidating, threatening local governments and ripping off taxpayers.

If half the salaries of the players went into a building fund, they would still be multimillionaires. Then there is still the super-rich owners to consider. Perhaps matching funds.

Gerald Olesen, Spring Hill

Auto industry woes

Take another look at the health of U.S. automakers

Last January the St. Petersburg Times opined that foreign auto companies were somehow "saving the domestic auto industry" as they manufacture one of every three vehicles made in the United States. This brilliant observation came at the height of several months of unrelenting media bashing of the U.S. auto companies, with particular emphasis on the bankruptcy of General Motors as an inevitable outcome.

I would ask the writer to explain to readers where the profits flow to from the sale of cars built by foreign automakers in the United States. Also explain how the loss of profit, domestic market share and U.S. jobs at American companies is somehow of benefit to the domestic auto industry. The writer could further explain how countries like Germany and Japan, with free access to our domestic market, virtually close their markets to U.S. products. Then, the editorial expert could explain how those countries have nationalized health care and pensions, and do not share the considerable financial burden for these legacy costs that the domestic companies do.

I further challenge Times business editor Robert Trigaux to re-examine General Motors' stock price and ability to compete over the next one to three years. How about it, Mr. Trigaux, any change to your GM point of view? Or, do we need to revisit in years two and three? If we do, I suspect you will find the company financially stable with a great product line, many of the legacy cost issues resolved and well positioned to survive and compete for the next 100 years.

John McBaine, Indian Shores

Progress embraces nuke path Dec. 13

Keep the pressure on the 'growthaholics'

On the one hand, I think the state's nonstop economic growth is leading to steady declines in the quality of life - so I would ordinarily avoid reading the usually progrowth business page of any newspaper. On the other hand, I appreciate your occasional willingness to question this state's development trajectory. I appreciated your article on the new nuclear power plant in Levy County. Did the nice folks at Progress Energy say what they planned to do with all the nuclear waste they will generate along with power?

I grew up in this state and it's so sad to see the constant development that causes the prices for everything to escalate much faster than most people's wages: water bills, electricity bills, taxes, insurance, housing. And the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Brutal traffic and environmental degradation.

Don't ever be afraid to question the "growthaholics" about the problems (not just the benefits) such growth causes.

Christopher F. Meindl, St. Petersburg Assistant professor, USF, St. Petersburg

Citizens rate hike is put on hold Dec. 8

Attention comes when the rich people speak up

Reading about insurance rate increases day after day is becoming tedious. In this story we learned folks on the beach would be spared the 55 percent increase on wind-only policies planned for March 2007. What a relief that must be.

We live in a small, 55-plus condominium community in Pinellas Park, about 15 miles from the beach. Last year our property insurance premium was slightly over $8,900. This year the premium rose to more than $31,000, almost a 250 percent increase.

Where were the governor, the CEO of Citizens Property Insurance and the reporters six months ago when we needed them? I don't recall reading much about that at the time. Seems we low-lifes in our low-rise villas can fend for ourselves. But when the big-bucks living in their beachfront high-rises blow, then everybody needs to know.

Warren Jardine, Clearwater

Higher risk buys lower premium, letter Dec. 10

Another vote for more flexible contents options

I heartily agree with letter writer M. Diane Hodson. Why should insurance companies force an arbitrary value on the contents of a residence by using a fixed percentage of the home's value, or even demand that contents be covered? Obviously, because it guarantees them a lucrative premium for contents coverage. Homeowners, not insurance companies, should decide what risk they're willing to assume for contents loss. Mortgage companies do not require contents be covered, only the home. Legislators should fix this in the special session.

Jude Bagatti, Gulfport

Republicans have done it again on insurance

Before touting the benefits of letting homeowners decline some coverage as a part of insurance relief, look at the fine print on your mortgage. Most mortgages require the normal 2 percent deductible. Just want to thank this fine Republican House for yet another "aid" that will not affect most.

It's no surprise Republicans are not willing to approve the same law their fellow Republicans passed last year that caused the pending huge rate increase. When will Florida voters wake up and figure out they get what they vote for?

Doug Bauer, Clearwater

Time for the country to come together on insurance

I am a Pinellas County homeowner and have watched insurance rates skyrocket. If they continue to go up, we will have no choice but to leave our beloved state.

The insurance industry and the politicians say there is no easy answer, but I have a suggestion.

Why can't insurance money go into one big pot for the United States? Each person making their payments as before. It would be the insurance industry's responsibility to set the yearly rate for each house. I believe each state has its own problems when it comes to Mother Nature. But if we all pulled together, "we the people" might just find our insurance rates are lowered dramatically all across the United States.

I know the insurance industry is big and it usually gets what it wants. But instead of not writing any more new policies in "problem" states, with this idea companies could continue to write new policies. Their agents would get more commission for all the new policies and the insurance industry would become even richer than it is, which is what it wanted anyway.

If we are the United States, undivided in liberty and justice for all, then why is there such a problem? Let's get this fixed and move on.

Bonnie Rumbutis, Largo

Senate Bill 1980

Let your voice be heard on insurance bill

Many people were screaming mad when we found out about Senate Bill 1980 and the enormous increases we are going to be facing again in our homeowners premiums. What makes me even angrier is the fact that many of the facts about this devastating bill haven't even come out yet!

If this Senate Bill 1980 is not repealed, we will be seeing our rates in Pasco County increase 200 percent over the next three years. It's a disgrace.

I want to say kudos to the Pasco County commissioners for trying to find some solutions. I pray they have the strength not to be bullied by developers here in Pasco and will follow through with their plans for increased testing for possible sinkholes in new developments, and making sure that any "sinkhole" houses are really being repaired and repaired correctly.

Remember the meeting with the Office of Insurance Regulation on Monday at 5 p.m. at the Spartan Manor in New Port Richey. It is imperative that we let these people know we are getting the facts, want real rate relief - but not at the expense of our safety.

Ginny Stevans, New Port Richey

President, Homeowners Against Citizens

Higher wage might not help Dec. 1

Minimum wage is just that - a starting point

Your story from the Associated Press doesn't even come close to an educated journalist reporting the truth about a topic. What a touching photo to lead off this story. Why not ask her to stay on longer than two months in an effort to show management that she can work hard and just maybe get a raise or a promotion before taking the "freeloader" way out? You quote her as saying "minimum wage isn't going to get me ahead. It's not even going to get me caught up." No kidding! Maybe you should explain that the minimum wage is just that. It is an entry-level pay scale. It is not intended to be a living wage for a family of four or five people as you seem determined to force down the throats of those of us who work our way up the chain, combined with taking responsibility for our personal choices.

The only "real world" fact that should have been addressed in this story is that "by the time taxes are taken out there's nothing left." Now there's a story.

Scott Menne, St. Petersburg

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[Last modified December 16, 2006, 20:25:12]

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