ND College Republicans push Donnelly on oil drilling, Patriot Act; Donnelly reassures the Right he’s with them

(from the South Bend Tribune)

Article published Jun 6, 2008
Group to Donnelly: Back drilling
Representative’s campaign says he does — as part of a larger solution.

ED RONCO
Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — A group of college Republicans wants U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly to “change his stance” and support domestic oil exploration.

But Donnelly’s campaign manager says the first-term Democrat is all for responsible domestic exploration — as long as it’s one part of a larger approach to energy independence that has to include other, more sustainable measures, too.

The Notre Dame College Republicans, including two people dressed as a dolphin and a caribou, presented a petition to Donnelly’s district director, Hodge Patel, for Donnelly to consider signing.

The so-called “American Solutions” petition calls on Congress to authorize exploration of “proven energy reserves.”

Translation: It’s asking Congress to allow more off-shore drilling and oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, or ANWR. Proponents think doing so would help lower the nearly $4 per gallon price of gas.Edward Yap, president of the Notre Dame College Republicans, said the price of fuel is a big issue for college students.

“We wanted to focus on ANWR and domestic drilling,” he said. “The last time I filled up my tank, it was $50.” Yap drives a 1998 Volvo sedan.

The College Republicans’ position echoes that of Donnelly’s fall opponent, Luke Puckett, who also has called on Donnelly to sign the petition.

Yap, the president of the college Republicans, is helping with the Puckett campaign. And Puckett’s campaign manager, Kyle Bailey, as well as Brian Sikma, the campaign’s deputy communications director, helped gather signatures for the petition Thursday in downtown South Bend.

And Donnelly’s position on domestic exploration for oil is clear, said Andrew Lattanner, his campaign manager.”In terms of drilling, with $4-per-gallon gas, Joe believes it’s absolutely necessary that we look at all our options, and one of those options is responsible exploration in the outer continental shelf, and in addition to that, he’s also in favor of increased oil production from shale on federal lands and he would support responsible exploration of oil reserves in ANWR,” Lattanner said.

But it’s important that the solution include many options, Lattanner said.

“We need a solution that involves all our options, whether that’s in additional exploration, biofuels, conservation, wind, solar — everything’s on the table,” Lattanner said. “There are good ideas on both sides of the aisle.”

***

The College Republicans also attacked Donnelly’s votes on extending the Protect America Act, which is part of the larger Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.Yap declined to answer further policy questions beyond what was on the group’s press release, which accuses Donnelly of a “flip-flop” on the issue (thus the person in the dolphin suit — it’s a “Flipper” joke).

But Donnelly actually supports the surveillance act.

He broke with House Democrats and voted to allow consideration of a 21-day extension of the act until a more lasting deal could be negotiated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recessed the chamber before a vote could occur.

“I support updating and extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” Donnelly told The Tribune in late February, when Puckett criticized his votes. “On January 13, two days before the latest iteration (version) of the FISA law lapsed, I voted for a 21-day extension of that same law. I stand ready to vote for another extension or a permanent new FISA law.”

(bold type by Donnelly Watch)

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