Posts Tagged ‘energy independence’

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?]


Donnelly delivers Dems’ weekly radio address

March 1, 2008

(The following is a transcript of today’s Democrat radio address delivered by Rep. Joe Donnelly – DW)

REP. JOE DONNELLY: Good morning. This is Congressman Joe Donnelly of Indiana’s Second Congressional District. Today it is my pleasure to talk to you about a few of Congress’ recent accomplishments on an issue that I believe will help define the future of our nation: energy independence and energy security.

Like many Americans across the nation, the people of northern Indiana have felt the negative effects of an energy policy that favored big oil companies at the expense of working families and businesses.

In the last six months, oil prices have increased by $25 a barrel to a record high of $102 this past week. In fact, in the past two weeks, the nationwide average for a gallon of gas increased 17 cents to $3.15 per gallon. For working families trying to make ends meet and for businesses working to strengthen our economy, this is a recipe for stress and struggle.However, not everyone is feeling the squeeze. Thanks in large part to a number of tax breaks and taxpayer subsidies, the world’s five largest oil companies each reported record-high profits for 2007.

At a time when America is confronted by political instability around the world, our nation continues to rely on foreign sources of oil for nearly 65 percent of our supply. There is no way around it — our current energy policy is bad for working families, bad for the American economy and a threat to our national security.

In order to address these challenges, the New Direction Congress has made energy independence and energy security a top priority. This past year, Congress passed and the president signed landmark legislation to increase fuel efficiency standards, produce 36 billion gallons of homegrown bio-fuels by 2022 and promote energy efficiency in our buildings, homes and appliances.

This past Wednesday, the House took another significant step by passing the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act, which will help ensure that our tax code is equitable and reflects our national priority of energy independence.

This legislation would repeal a number of the most costly and unnecessary tax subsidies benefiting large oil companies and instead reinvest that $18 billion into providing incentives for the use and production of renewable energy.

Specifically, the legislation would invest more than $8 billion in clean, renewable energy incentives for electricity produced from sources such as wind, solar, biomass and hydropower.

In addition, the bill includes $2 billion for clean, renewable energy bonds to assist electric cooperatives and public electric providers to utilize renewable energy sources. Equally important, these technologies will lead to a demand for newly manufactured products and a growth of a quickly emerging green industry, creating hundreds of thousands of highly skilled, well-paying jobs.

The bill also provides tax incentives to help homeowners and businesses cut energy costs by investing in energy efficient products and properties, and it encourages American manufacturers to develop affordable appliances that would promote energy efficiency improvements in our homes and businesses.

For rural communities, like those in my Indiana district, this bill contains tax incentives for the production of biodiesel and a new generation of biofuels, including fuels produced from domestic, non-food products such as switch grass and corn stover. And in order to bring these fuels to market, the bill included tax credits for the installation of new E-85 ethanol pumps.

While these are positive first steps, we must remember that a successful solution requires a diverse portfolio of energy sources. My home state of Indiana currently relies on coal for nearly 94 percent of its energy generation.

While we must work to bring this number down, this fact serves as a powerful reminder that we must also pursue advances in clean technologies that allow us to continue to use our nation’s most abundant and affordable sources of energy.

By investing in clean coal technologies and carbon sequestration, I am hopeful we will be able to fully harness the energy potential of American coal while also respecting the health and the sanctity of our environment.

History shows us that the American people can achieve anything we put our minds to, and I can think of few challenges greater than our nation’s need for energy independence. The benefits of energy independence go beyond leaving our children a cleaner environment. By relying on American ingenuity and not oil country dictators, we would create new jobs and make our country more secure.

I am confident that through the continued actions of this Congress and with your help, a clean, sustainable energy policy for America will become a reality.

This is Congressman Joe Donnelly. Thanks so much for listening.