By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Offshore drilling will benefit pocketbooks
Placeholder Image
Georgians applaud President Obama’s decision to allow offshore drilling along the mid-Atlantic coast. With the state unemployment rate at 10.6 percent, we understand that tapping into U.S. oil and natural gas resources offshore would create hundreds of thousands of new, well-paying jobs, boost the state and local economies, and help secure our energy future. We also know many factors play a role in whether or not development will ever occur. If the president has our best interest in mind, he needs to act quickly and prudently on his words.
The oil and natural gas industry supports 9.2 million American jobs, and more than 145,000 of those jobs are right here in Georgia, according to a PricewaterhouseCooper study. The same study also found that the oil and natural gas industry contributes a critical $12 billion to our state’s economy. If we were to develop Canadian oil sands, the state could see an additional 10,000 jobs created between 2011 and 2015, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute. These are well-paying jobs in refining, among other indirect employment opportunities in construction, manufacturing and agriculture.
Not only could Georgians use the additional jobs, we could use the extra energy. We are high energy consumers. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Georgia’s industrial sector is the largest energy-consuming sector in the state. Our energy-intensive wood and paper products industry requires a growing energy portfolio to produce goods that all Americans rely on.  
Expanded oil and natural gas access just makes sense. It would create desperately-needed American jobs, secure our future energy supplies, and help stabilize Georgia’s and the nation’s economy. President Obama should understand this. Yet his support for punitive policies, including cap-and-trade and $80 billion in new taxes on U.S. energy companies, suggests otherwise. Excessive regulation and taxation would only impede economic recovery, force companies to send jobs overseas, and jeopardize our energy security.
The president is on the right track by opening sections of the mid-Atlantic coast for offshore energy development. But without action to back up his words, Georgia and the rest of the country will continue to rely on foreign oil as the state and national economies remain dangerously unstable. So while we applaud the president today, we ask that he takes us forward—rather than leading us backward.

Pearson is chairman of the Economic Development Committee. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Pickens, and Union counties and portions of Forsyth and White counties.  He may be reached at (404) 656.9221 or via e-mail at

Sign up for our e-newsletters