Eric Johnson: Despite The Spill, We Still Need To Drill

The following press release was issued today by the campaign of Eric Johnson:

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a horrific tragedy. Just as tragic has been the federal government’s incompetent response in the aftermath of the spill. All available resources from the public and the private sector must be activated to contain the spread of oil, clean up the damage, and investigate the incident in its entirety to determine how we can keep it from ever happening again. However, the Obama Administration should not use the spill an excuse to divert our nation from a critical and attainable goal—energy security.

Our country is simply too dependent on energy from foreign dictators. We are buying oil from countries with regimes that support thugs and terrorists. Money we hand to the cashier at the gas station eventually makes its way into the hands of criminals who want to destroy our way of life and kill Americans. As appalled as I am by the images of oil washing up on beaches while federal officials attempt one futile plan after another, I am even more enraged by the thought of seeing images of another 9/11-style attack on our nation’s soil.

Predictably, liberal activists call the Gulf disaster a warning of things to come if we expand drilling, but this incident is an unfortunate exception to the rule. The last major oil spill from a drilling accident in America happened over 40 years ago in 1969. In fact, oil spills from tankers are far more common than the very rare leaks from rigs or pipelines. If we import more and more of our oil from overseas, the dangers from a tanker accident are actually increasing.

We can safely and cleanly drill. The facts and track record prove it. The Gulf of Mexico survived two large scale hurricanes in 2005 with no major oil spills attributed to either storm. Additionally, data from the Minerals Management Service shows that more oil is lost to natural seepage each year than is lost by oil company spills.

Georgia is well positioned to lead our nation in breaking our unseemly pact with dictators. By expanding all types of energy production, including nuclear power, alternative fuels, and yes, offshore drilling for oil and gas, our state can reduce America’s demand for foreign oil and provide the energy that businesses need to grow. With the right vision and leadership, we can help secure our country and jumpstart our own economy.

As Governor, my goal is to make Georgia the energy leader of the Southeast. Georgia is the Saudi Arabia of pine trees. I will aggressively support the researchers, farmers, investors, and entrepreneurs developing new ways to turn this biomass from pine trees into efficient fuel. I have supported the expansion of two new nuclear power units under construction at Plant Vogtle which will create 3,500 construction jobs and 800 high-paying permanent jobs. I will continue to support increased energy production from wind, solar, and water. And I remain committed to clean, safe oil and gas exploration and drilling off of our coast.

According to a recent study by the American Energy Alliance, allowing for full development of Georgia’s offshore resources could improve Georgia’s economy by $79 million annually. And those countries who are trying to destroy us? They are currently profiting from our resources by drilling near the U.S. waters, draining our coastal regions of their oil and gas reserves. They are not drilling with the strong environmental regulations that we would have. They are not drilling with the same safety standards that we would have. If we do not act in our own self-interest, you can be sure that some Third World dictator capitalizes on our lack of political will.

Yours for a better Georgia,



  1. GOPwits says:

    This guy is showing how out of touch with reality he is… If you do your homework, you’ll find out that the Bush-Cheney Administration severely weakened safety and environmental safeguards on offshore oil wells. In fact, there are other rigs at risk right now in the Gulf.

    I too don’t like the idea of buying oil from dictators, but I also don’t like the idea of my environment being totally destroyed by an out of touch politician who is ignorant on the issue at hand.

    Offshore oil exploration can be done safely, as it is done in the North Sea, but the safety and environmental safeguards removed during the Bush-Cheney years must be restored before anything moves forward or we’re going to destroy ourselves from the inside out.

    • B Balz says:


      Destroying the Gulf of Mexico is not a ‘horrific tragedy” as much as it IS a predictable outcome of corporate/government coziness.

      Larry Wilkerson – who tells how much we have to be thankful to Richard “the Dick” Cheney for overturning 50 years of regulatory practices for industry among which one of the chief focus points was the drilling in the Gulf – how he replaced all the key positions in regulatory agencies with lobbyists or execs of the very companies they were supposed to regulate.

      His time in Halliburton as a “rolodex guy” supplying them with contacts and funding. Who was there when Deepwater Horizon blew? Halliburton.

      This is a Republican I could vote for….he sees the balance of regulation, free enterprise and whats right and wrong…

      Oh and I am going to start using a new acronym: SPILL



    • I dunno about that… this might be one of the most pro-Handel pieces that Icarus has posted recently.

      Sometimes, an outright “Vote For My Candidate!” pitch is less effective than a subtle trail of breadcrumbs leading you to “The Other Guy is a Moron!”.

  2. The Gulf of Mexico survived two large scale hurricanes in 2005 with no major oil spills attributed to either storm.

    Except for those 8 million gallons of spilled oil. I guess that’s nothing “major” for folks who don’t live in Louisiana.

    As a former resident of St. Simons Island, I think the tune would be rather different if the oil was washing up on Cumberland, Sea Island and Tybee; if Jekyll was watching all their sea turtles wash up on shore as so much carrion; and if y’all were looking at no wild Georgia shrimp again, ever.

  3. iamnotasocialist says:

    To all of my friends in the GOP– your candidates this round suck hardcore. Each of them has, in some way, shape, or form, royally pissed off even members of their own party, and this little Eric Johnson diddy is just yet another example. I dunno about you, but I’d vote for Otis Putnam. (**DISCLAIMER** I am actually a Democrat, and not trolling for Otis Putnam)

    • ZazaPachulia says:

      I know, Mr. ‘Socialist.’ You’re right. Our candidates do leave a whole lot to be desired. The party had one really good candidate this time around, but the power brokers convinced him to run for Congress instead. The only reason I (a voter in this summer’s Republican primary) have been ‘trolling for Putnam’ is out of disgust over the caliber of our front-runners.

  4. Mayonnaise says:

    Someone save me the time of researching …… how many offshore wells are currently in operation of the coast of entire United States?

  5. ZazaPachulia says:

    Wow, Eric. I already know that Ox and Deal are terrible candidates. The much-discussed Mrs. Handel has significant problems. The best GOP candidate is now running for Congress. Nobody knows Jeff Chapman and Otis has started posting in the Peach Pundit comments section (not a good thing). This all had me leaning toward maybe considering voting for Johnson so that at least we could have a somewhat palatable option opposite Barnes in November…

    And then the Johnson campaign drops this piece of absolute garbage.
    This release is a gaffe-a-second comedy bonanza. First off, the correct response for the self-proclaimed ‘jobs candidate’ would have been “I will make Georgia a leader in alternative fuels, new technology and new sources of energy to bring high paying jobs to our state.”
    He gets to that sort of, but not before defending more drilling, claiming we get our oil from Osama Bin Laden, Iran and the Taliban, and then bragging about making us consumers pay for Georgia Power’s new nuclear plant. To really drive home who Johnson will represent as governor, he quotes some old figures by a couple of energy-sponsored trade groups. When he finally starts talking about new jobs and alternative fuels, Johnson does so by dubbing our state the “Saudi Arabia of Pine Trees.”

    Was this really the best you could give us, Eric? I know this stuff is campaign fluff, but come on.

  6. benevolus says:

    So Johnson is for nationalizing the oil companies? Because that’s the only way to keep that oil here.

  7. Mayonnaise says:

    “The following press release was issued today by the campaign of Eric Johnson” ….. ummmm, I think it was actually a yesterday but good job trying to divert attention for Karen “GayPride” Handel!

  8. GOPwits says:

    If I want an out of touch heavy handed politician for my next Governor, I’d be petitioning for Sonny Perdue to have a 3rd term… I guess that’s where Eric Johnson pulled this play from…

  9. gopgal says:

    “Why do they call it an oil “spill”? A spill is a set amount then done. What we have is a “leak.” An unknown final amount that hasn’t been plugged.”

      • gopgal says:

        B Balz, Not an attempt to “be cute” in fact, just the opposite. This ongoing problem is a leak (more like a verb) not a spill (a noun). It’s devastating and my point is that I think the current word choice “spill” is trivializing it.

        • B Balz says:

          Fair enough.

          I wonder if BP bought up the search term, “Gusher in the Gulf”, as they acquired “oil spill”. When you google ‘oil spill’ BP’s helpful infomercial appears.

      • Mozart says:

        Jason…had that story been about ANY other candidate, it would have had a 14-word title to it that included the name of the candidate, along with whatever slamming adjectives Icarus could think of.

        As it stands, “Stop the presses” is hardly indicative of a clear and present presentation of the issue.

        But, I know…you have your own definitions of reality. You think that if someone cracks a joke about an issue then that mean they seriously believe in the issue. One day, I’d really like to see a demonstration of a sense of humor from you or any Libertarian. So far, Libertarians and the Dems are decisively devoid of anything resembling a sense of humor.

  10. BubbaRich says:

    Drill, Baby, Drill! Some of you others Republicans can help, here, have Republicans departed reality so much that they don’t consider reducing consumption as part of energy security? Some of you sound more sensible in your response, but nobody else gets around to mentioning that.

  11. James Fannin says:

    A candidate from Savannah who shaves his head, wears cowboy boots with his suits and favors “safe drilling” obviously doesn’t have a problem going after the gay vote. And while I’m on the subject, the Army has a great rule for guys like Mayonnaise – we aren’t askin and he should really stop tellin.

  12. Progressive Dem says:

    I was under the impression that Eric Johnson’s base was along the Georgia coast.

    Anyone who has enjoyed the beach, the surf, fishing, sailing, water skiing, crabbing, a good meal of fresh seafood, or works in the seafood industry, or in coastal development or has any relationship to the coastal economy is very unsettled about off-shore drilling. At this moment we are in the midst of the worst enviornmental disaster since Chernobyl. Issuing a press release that runs full steam ahead for more drilling is really out of touch.

    Before any idiot like Eric Johson blithely calls for more drilling, at a minimum, how about we figure out how to stop this gusher. This is no little “spill”. It’s no little harmless mistake that can be minimized or overlooked. This is a 100 year problem the world has never dealt with before. How about we assure the American people any future drilling operations has safeguards in place and this kind of disaster can’t happen again before we issue any more permits.

    What a moron. I hope this sob gets the nomination.

    • BubbaRich says:

      Despite Cheney and Palin, I still hope for two good presidential slates to battle it out on real issues. I was torn between Obama and McCain until he picked Palin, especially when it became clear he wasn’t using her for her good qualities (cleaning the machine out of Alaska politics, general independence), but sending her out to shepherd in the religious wingnut votes.

      Romney v. Obama could be a decent campaign, unless Romney decides to play up the John Birch/Tea Party angle.

      But I hope the Republicans CAN’T find a candidate stupid enough to lose to a Democratic candidate in this race.

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