tocacco plant Native American Tobaccoo flower, leaves, and buds

tocacco Tobacco is an annual or bi-annual growing 1-3 meters tall with large sticky leaves that contain nicotine. Native to the Americas, tobacco has a long history of use as a shamanic inebriant and stimulant. It is extremely popular and well-known for its addictive potential.

tocacco nicotina Nicotiana tabacum

tocacco Nicotiana rustica leaves. Nicotiana rustica leaves have a nicotine content as high as 9%, whereas Nicotiana tabacum (common tobacco) leaves contain about 1 to 3%

tocacco cigar A cigar is a tightly rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco which is ignited so that its smoke may be drawn into the mouth. Cigar tobacco is grown in significant quantities in Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Sumatra, Philippines, and the Eastern United States.

tocacco Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as an organic pesticide, and in the form of nicotine tartrate it is used in some medicines. In consumption it may be in the form of cigarettes smoking, snuffing, chewing, dipping tobacco, or snus.

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British oil company obligation to Florida

No one believes the $75 million that British oil company BP has offered Florida so far will come close to paying for the devastation caused by the oil British oil company BPcompany’s spill in the Gulf.

Early estimates from academics, Gov. Charlie Crist and the task force he formed to assess BP’s economic blow to the state instead range from $2 billion to $10billion — though like most everything connected to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, those numbers may soar.

Remember how BP first said about 1,000 or so barrels were escaping per day from its offshore well, only to hear scientists say the number could be closer to 50,000 barrels per day?

Expect costs to escalate further once the tar balls dotting Panhandle beaches like raindrops become a storm — not just there but perhaps clear around Florida’s entire coastline should much of the spill get caught up in the loop current.

What shouldn’t be estimable in all this is BP’s responsibility to Florida. It should pay for all damages to the environment and the economy, and to rehabilitate them.

The company is signaling it will — a representative of BP told Florida’s Cabinet members this week that BP generated $30 billion in cash flow over the last four quarters, and that it will cover all legitimate claims.

But trusting BP to do what’s right is folly considering it didn’t even have a credible plan to deal with a deep-water disaster, and how the company continually downplays the magnitude of the spill.

Florida officials need to force BP’s hand. Many are trying. We’re encouraged that Mr. Crist tapped Bob Butterworth, along with fellow former Attorney General Jim Smith, to review the state’s legal options. Mr. Butterworth negotiated Florida’s tobacco settlement in 1997, which got Big Tobacco to agree to pay an estimated $11.3 billion over 25 years to compensate the state for the costs to the public’s health from smoking-related diseases.

The damage that Big Oil inflicts on Florida could reach a similar scale, and Mr. Butterworth’s experience lightening the pockets of multinationals like BP could pay dividends.

Mr. Crist’s also right to push BP to significantly increase its claims offices, now servicing eight counties, to 30 counties. But the state also needs to oversee and audit the claims process to ensure that claimants don’t get shortchanged. And the cost of that oversight must be born by BP.

Legislation from Sens. Bill Nelson, Barbara Boxer and Bill Menendez that would raise the cap from $75million to $10 billion on oil industry liability also should allow more businesses, beaches, wetlands and wildlife to survive BP’s disaster.

But BP shouldn’t just compensate victims for their losses tied to the spill. Its credibility in the eyes of the public is in ruins. Before its negligence, short-cuts, cost-cutting, lack of planning and irresponsibility contributed to the blowout and the ineffective response to it, BP had branded itself the green, responsible petroleum company — as much as Volvo brands itself the safe, responsible car company.

Now, to escape the public branding it an environmental criminal, BP needs to help states damaged by the spill to rely less on companies like BP. To help them go green. BP could — it should — invest tens of millions in research and development projects under way at Florida universities on alternative energy. And fund government rebate programs that promote conservation. And create trust funds that year after year could fund mass transit projects. And endow programs designed to prevent and respond to environmental disasters.

Or it can go down as a scourge to its victims.

Copyright © 2010, Orlando Sentinel

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