Posts Tagged ‘ANWR’

We can’t drill our way out of problem

July 31, 2008

The following is a letter to the editor published July 30 in the South Bend Tribune)

We can’t drill our way out of problem

Responding to consumer outrage at the high cost of gasoline, the president and Congress (including Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger) are rushing to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and our coastal plains. Please listen, everyone: We cannot drill our way out of high prices and gas shortages. The oil derived from such drilling would be a decade away and a pittance of what we need — if it weren’t sold to China first.

Far more sensible solutions are to use what we have more wisely (energy efficiency) and to develop alternatives to the old, outmoded methods of digging and drilling. High gas prices and threats of global warming are spurring a race to solve the energy crisis technologically. Not only are strides being made in the familiar alternatives of wind and solar, but other innovations appear almost daily, such as transforming the energy of social dancers into electricity that powers the hall they’re dancing in!

The possibilities seem endless.

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Let’s rescind the tax breaks we’ve given the major oil companies, who have amassed almost $600 billion in profits since 2001, and devote the revenue instead to developing sensible and sustainable ways of meeting our energy needs.

Laura Fuderer
South Bend


RealClearPolitics on Indiana’s 2nd District race

July 23, 2008

from RealClearPolitics:

Indiana 02: Freshman Joe Donnelly has one of the more conservative voting records in the Democratic caucus, and his chances of keeping this northern Indiana district are mounting. Donnelly raised $248,000 in the Second Quarter and had $993,000 on hand, while his Republican challenger, businessman Luke Puckett, has yet to even file his report (A pre-primary report for Puckett showed he’d raised just $33,000 and given himself $150,000). Puckett is one of the GOP challengers headed to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and if he can make oil exploration an issue, he may stay competitive.

SBT: Donnelly addresses Notre Dame energy conference

July 8, 2008

from the South Bend Tribune:

[DW replies in bold type]

Article published Jul 8, 2008

Donnelly: Energy options need consideration
Congressman addresses ND energy conference

ED RONCO Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — Conservation, alternative fuels and domestic exploration for oil — in no particular order, by the way — comprise the best strategy to make the United States energy independent, U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly said Monday.

[Notice the ‘in no particular order’ piece – indicative of Donnelly’s lack of willingness to take a strong, principled stand for developing sustainable, alternative energy sources as the primary strategy for solving our energy problems.]

Donnelly, D-Granger, was the keynote speaker at an energy conference put on by the University of Notre Dame’s Energy Center — a College of Engineering division formed in 2005 to help guide national energy policy.

Drilling domestically for oil, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, has been a national hot-button issue for years, including in this election year, and in this congressional district.

Donnelly’s Republican challenger, Luke Puckett, is traveling to the refuge next week along with other Republican congressional candidates to have a look around.

Donnelly, who has been accused by Puckett of voting in the past against exploration in ANWR, said he’s all for it.”I think it can be done in a responsible way,” Donnelly said Monday. “Other folks think it cannot. And I respect that view. That’s why there’s the Yankees and the Red Sox. The same with the outer continental shelf.”

[Why can’t Donnelly as an incumbent Democrat in a year distinctly favorable to Democrats feel secure in standing his ground? What does ‘responsible’ mean exactly? Why wasn’t Donnelly asked to explain himself?]

Donnelly said there could be 80 billion barrels of oil in the outer continental shelf — an area of seabed sloping away from U.S. shores before dropping off into the deep ocean.

[Yes, it’s *possible* there *could* be 80 billion barrels of oil but what did he say about the *possible* environmental impact of extracting this undetermined amount of oil?]

But more needs to be done in the way of exploring alternative sources of energy, too, he said.

Donnelly pointed to a bill the House passed shortly after coming under Democratic control in 2006. It redirected $18 billion in tax credits for oil companies to firms exploring solar, wind and hydrogen energy.

“To this day, we’ve still not been able to have the administration sign it,” he said. “(Oil companies) made $120 billion last year. That’s with a B. They don’t need $18 billion from the folks who live in South Bend and in Mishawaka and in LaPorte to help pay for their oil exploration.”During the question-and-answer portion of Donnelly’s presentation, someone suggested that total energy independence might be a “pipe dream,” especially in an economy becoming more global.

“Brazil did that,” Donnelly said. “Brazil set it as a goal. They’ve achieved it and their economy has become much stronger.”

The South American nation has used its massive sugar crops to help produce biofuels that have reduced its dependence on foreign oil.

The United States needs to find a way to mirror Brazil’s success, Donnelly said, rather than send hundreds of millions of dollars to the Middle East.

“It has weakened our dollar and it has weakened our financial position in the world,” he said. “We need to keep those funds here.”Donnelly calls his view the “all-in” philosophy, as in, all options are in the running, and he said he’d like to see other members of Congress subscribe to it.

“You have people on either side who don’t like certain portions of it,” he said “And I think it’s one of those situations where you may not like this portion or that portion but together it makes tremendous sense.”

[Right. So, again, what exactly does an “all-in” philosophy mean other than as a sound-bite?]

WSJ: Donnelly, Puckett, and ANWR

July 8, 2008

from the Wall-Stree Journal’s Political Diary:

[bold text emphasis by DW]

Political Diary
July 3, 2008

Republicans Discover Oil
Here’s a piece of intelligence from the field that the McCain campaign should take careful note of: Republicans in difficult House races are spending scarce campaign dollars to travel to Alaska to dramatize their stance on the drilling issue.

Those making the trek include former Rep. Mike Sodrel, who lost his Southern Indiana seat in 2006 and is making a comeback bid; South Dakota businessman Chris Lien, who is running against Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin for the state’s lone House seat; Gulf War veteran Craig Williams, running for Congress in Pennsylvania; Indiana businessman Luke Puckett, running for a seat that borders Lake Michigan; and Paul Stark, who is running in Wisconsin. The five GOP candidates, traveling as a group, will stop off in Anchorage to meet with industry experts and local officials – Alaskans of both parties overwhelmingly favor drilling in ANWR – before making the final hour-and-a-half flight to the refuge.

Talk about seismic. In February, only 42% of voters supported drilling in a Pew poll while 50% were opposed. Those numbers are reversed in the latest poll and such surveys are evidently a lagging indicator if Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly knows his business. Mr. Donnelly, who’s fighting off the Puckett challenge in Indiana, voted last year to extend a moratorium on offshore drilling but changed his mind with the arrival of $4 gas. His spokesman even tells the South Bend Tribune: “It’s a bit odd that Luke Puckett would travel over 3,500 miles to Alaska to convince Joe Donnelly of something he already supports. Joe doesn’t need to go to ANWR to know that domestic exploration is an important part of a long-term strategy for energy independence.”

Donnelly (again) capitulates on ANWR

June 26, 2008


Thirteen days ago, an all time high at the pump for Hoosiers meant an all time low when emotions got in the way. Gas prices reached $4.19 a gallon.

Wednesday, prices like $3.79 in the morning, going back up to $3.91 in the evening shows the rollercoaster keeps going.

Ryan Deeter says, “I think it’s discouraging. It’s very difficult.”

That’s why the 21 year-old says he decided to take a seat and listen for some possible solutions from Republican Congressional candidate Luke Puckett.

Deeter says, “I think sometimes the issues can be oversimplified in political rhetoric.”

Puckett says that’s not true.

He says, “We can bring the price of gas down. We can do it.”

Puckett’s plan is to drill and refine American oil. That’s why he’s taking a trip to ANWR to see if drilling there is a good idea.

Puckett says, “It’s either to say we’re going to drill or not drill. We’re going to debunk the theory if need be or we’re going to put an x on the ground and say x marks the spot.”

That’s an idea his rival, Congressman Joe Donnelly, also supports.

Donnelly says, “I’ve said a number of times we need to be drilling in ANWR and we need to be drilling in our continental shelf.”

Again, that’s another area they agree on.

Puckett says, “We have 45 billion barrels of oil off the Gulf Coast of Mexico. It doesn’t matter, we have China drilling in our backyard off the coast.”

Puckett says Donnelly hasn’t always lived up to his claim.

Puckett says, “He’s gone back and forth and voted against it and he’s voted for it, but at key leadership times he has voted against drilling and refining American oil.”

The incumbent Representative says more drilling is just one part of his plan.

Donnelly says, “We also need to be doing wind and solar hydrogen and we have to be better at conserving.”

He says Congress is working on getting a bill passed that starts to put crude oil back on the market from the country’s reserves.

He’s also working on a plan to drive speculators out of the market by tightening regulations and demanding more “up front” money from people who buy oil contracts.

The price of oil has doubled in a year and a senior oil analyst from Oppenheimer investments testified before Congress this week and said the majority of that increase was because of speculation.

Donnelly (again) plays to the Right on ANWR

June 13, 2008

(The article was originally published in the South Bend Tribune)

Article published Jun 13, 2008
Candidate Puckett to visit ANWR
Republican wants U.S. to drill for oil in Alaskan refuge.

Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — Republican congressional candidate Luke Puckett will travel to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska next month to advocate for oil exploration there.

Puckett, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger, will travel with four other congressional candidates, including former U.S. Rep. Mike Sodrel, R-Ind., who is running for the 9th District seat in southern Indiana.

He also will be joined by candidates from Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The trip is scheduled for July 14-17.

Drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, has been the subject of debate for years, renewed recently by soaring gasoline prices that recently topped $4 per gallon.

Puckett and other proponents of drilling in the reserve, which is located in the northeastern-most corner of Alaska, say it would add more oil to the market and lower prices.Critics of drilling in ANWR, such as the Sierra Club and environmental groups, say it will disrupt the sensitive environment there, and that any benefits would take decades to realize.

The Republican candidates will visit Prudhoe Bay, where British Petroleum and other oil companies partner to operate the largest oil field in North America.

Then the delegation will travel, likely by helicopter, into ANWR for a look around, Puckett said.

“The whole goal of the trip is to simply go and fact-find,” he said. “Just how much is there? We’ve heard people say 16 billion barrels of oil are waiting for us there.”

Puckett has criticized Donnelly for votes he says have prevented exploration for oil in ANWR, including a vote in June 2007 to prohibit domestic oil and gas exploration.“Last year, Joe voted with a bipartisan majority to maintain the moratorium on drilling on the outer continental shelf, but with $4 a gallon gas, the situation is different,” said Andrew Lattanner, Donnelly’s campaign manager, in an interview June 5. “And the congressman recognizes that we need to look at all our options, and one of those options is looking at the outer continental shelf.”

Donnelly has said he would favor exploring ANWR if the drilling was done responsibly and in conjunction with other measures to help lower the price of fuel and increase energy efficiency, such as exploring biofuels or wind and solar power.

Puckett, meanwhile, said Donnelly’s change of mind on the vote was “political expediency.” He also reiterated an offer to take Donnelly on the trip to ANWR.

It’s an offer Donnelly’s not interested in, his campaign manager said.