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,