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The Rumor of Oil Is (Apparently) Worse Than the Reality of . . . Yuck

Offshore drilling seems to be the sexier environmental threat to Florida's coast. The memory of that 1969 oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, Cal., killing birds and fish and coating the beach with a thick coat of black goo provides a specter so horrible that 39 years later, when Gov. Charlie Crist suggested lifting our coastal ban on oil drilling, Floridians went berserk.

The theoretical threat causes more of a still than an actual, real-life, everyday threat. On Wednesday, a dozen Miami-Dade beaches were closed because of high fecal bacteria count. Last month, similar findings closed beaches in Broward.

Broward and Miami-Dade counties, of course, still pump lightly treated sewage into the ocean through offshore outfall pipes. On Thursday, The Clean Water Network of Florida issued a report documenting ungodly, sickening (literally and figuratively), disgusting dumping of sewage into the Gulf of Mexico. The Network found dozens of examples of leaking sewage pipes, antiquated treatment plants and other inadequacies that are polluting the Gulf -- and our sea food -- with human waste. The report was dubbed ''The Gulf of Mexico -- Florida's Toilet."

We're swimming in sewage. Actual sewage. But all the outrage this week grew out of the rumor of oil drilling. Oh well, who wants to deal with Yucky reality anyway?  

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