Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Council Isn't Finished with Controversy

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Council Isn't Finished with Controversy

Article excerpt

Byline: Ron Littlepage

Mousing around the news of the day ... click.

Next Tuesday will be the final meeting of the current City Council. It's not likely to end with a whimper but a bang.

And I don't mean that as a bad pun because the council will take up a resolution to oppose seismic air gun testing off Florida's East Coast until more information is known about the impacts to marine life.

The Rules Committee debated the issue Monday morning, foreshadowing what's to come.

The committee eventually defeated the resolution on a 3-4 vote with council members Robin Lumb, Matt Schellenberg, Don Redman and Stephen Joost against, and Lori Boyer, Warren Jones and Bill Gulliford in favor.

Not surprisingly, people with ties to the oil and gas industry who were being paid to appear told the committee that seismic testing doesn't harm marine life and is needed "to secure America's energy future."

You have to wonder, however, why 75 marine scientists have joined the opposition to the testing, saying it is harmful.

"These are not people with their hair on fire afraid of something they don't understand," Janet Stanko of the Sierra Club said in response to the assertion that the resolution results from "a serious campaign of misinformation."

Besides the environmental harm, there's another issue here. The seismic testing could lead to oil and gas drilling off Florida's coast.

That industry will assure us that's perfectly safe and then say oops when a devastating incident like the BP disaster inevitably happens.

As for that energy future, the United States should be moving away from carbon-based energy, not adding to the pollution that is putting Florida at risk from rising sea levels.

Click.

As this council year winds to a close, hats off to Clay Yarborough for doing a good job as council president.

He's handled some difficult issues, not the least of which was the police and fire pension reform legislation, with fairness.

For me, that's the main job of a council president, to make sure all sides have an opportunity to be heard. …

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