Good morning. Here’s a look at today’s opinion content:
• In an editorial, we comment on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the costs of which will probably haunt us for decades. We write:
“The single largest factor in the price of gasoline is the cost of the crude oil from which it is made, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy. Distribution and marketing, refining costs and profits, along with state and federal taxes — they accounted for nearly 40 percent of the average retail price of a gallon of regular last year — $2.34, dirt-cheap by world standards; the cost of the crude accounted for the rest.
“What doesn’t show up in such calculations is the kind of ecological harm lapping at the Gulf Coast shores and wreaking unseen havoc on the ocean floor, part of an ecosystem that begins with microorganisms, in a murky darkness a mile from the surface, and which eventually stretches to our dinner plates.
“BP PLC, the oil company that leased the doomed Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, gushing oil since an April 20 explosion, will pay billions for the cleanup, containment efforts, lost livelihoods and other losses. A Monday estimate put the tab at $12.5 billion. It is easy to imagine, however, how so many costs won’t be known for decades.”
• Matt Davies comments on the oil spill in his cartoon today, titled, “The Plan.” He offers these comments:
“Is anyone as puzzled as me about the lack of a comprehensive, pre-emptive oil rig-spill emergency plan? While the thick black stuff is gushing out of the well into the Gulf of Mexico, destroying vital fisheries and a beautiful, fragile ecosystem, BP is essentially MacGyvering the cleanup as it goes along. Why is it that oil companies – or at least Halliburton – don’t have a handful of those hastily welded together giant metal “dome” things they just built to cap the well just lying around waiting for a spill to be contained? After being preached to by the drill-baby-drill crowd (including President Obama) about how technological advances in offshore wells have eliminated the potential for mistakes, it seems odd that crude isn’t just the stuff they are trying to clean up and contain with untested chemical oil dispersants and strips of rubber tied together – It also describes those “technological advancements” in spill remediation.”
• Phil Tisi, a Sloatsburg resident who retired as chair of the history department at Suffern High School, writes a Community View in which he argues that schools are no substitute for good parenting.
What’s your view of your school district’s proposed budget?
When New Jersey voters went to the polls last month, they defeated some six in 10 public school budgets; in an ordinary round of N.J. school budget votes, seven in 10 pass. Will similarly tax-fatigued Lower Hudson Valley voters follow their lead in May 18 school budget votes? How do you plan on casting your vote and why? Let us know in a comment below or in a letter of up to 250 words. In addition to the usual information — name, address, phone number — be sure to tell us your school district.
Letters should be no longer than 250 words and should include your name, address and daytime phone number to permit verification. To submit a letter, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; fax it to us at 914-696-8396 or mail it to Letters to the Editor, 1 Gannett Drive, White Plains NY 10604.