Posts Tagged ‘Notre Dame’

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?]


ND Study: Undocumented workers an asset to local economy

April 10, 2008

(The following article appeared April 8, 2008 in the South Bend Tribune)

by Pablo Ros

Deporting a single undocumented worker from South Bend would on average cost the local economy a net loss of about $3,000 a month, according to a new study from the University of Notre Dame’s Economics and Econometrics Department.

The report, which can be read online, may be the first cost-benefit analysis of undocumented immigration to South Bend.

Based largely on surveys of Hispanic immigrants who live in South Bend, it provides a breakdown in dollar amounts of their assets and liabilities.

The researchers conclude that contrary to the belief that undocumented immigrants are a drain on the local economy, they are “an essential part of the economy and important for maintaining stability. Immigrants pay taxes, do not use as many government benefits as citizens and often take lower wages for unskilled labor.”

Kasey Buckles, one of two Notre Dame professors who directed the study, said its ultimate purpose is to assist policymakers in making informed decisions.She said its scope is limited to the economic impact of undocumented immigration, which has generated a debate that is political and ethical, among other things.

Abigail Wozniak, who co-directed the research, said the results of the study would be meaningful to cities similar to South Bend that have not traditionally been immigrant destinations.

The overall impact of the 12 million undocumented immigrants on the country’s economy has been the subject of much debate in recent years.

While immigrant advocates have underscored the attributes of the labor, taxes and purchasing power of undocumented workers, others have pointed to a drain in social services and loss of jobs as detriments.Based on an estimate of South Bend’s undocumented population that puts it at or near 3,400, the report concluded that this often neglected and shunned segment of our community on average contributes as much as $10 million per month to the local economy.

Researchers subtracted the total cost of liabilities — the greatest of which was public education — from the added value of assets — which included income from labor, taxes and expenditures.There are a few disclaimers to that figure, however. Researchers found data on investments made by undocumented immigrants in the stock market and other options unreliable, possibly the result of respondents misinterpreting a survey question.

Also, researchers were unable to calculate the costs of medical services used by undocumented immigrants.

But even in a worst-case scenario, the report points out, the overall impact of undocumented immigration on South Bend remains positive, meaning that the dollar value of immigrants’ contributions outweighs the total costs they generate.

Although the study doesn’t express such gains in terms of the total size of the local economy, Buckles said the loss of millions of dollars in monthly capital would inevitably cause it to shrink.

Researchers were not able to quantify other liabilities, such as crime and the loss of jobs. While undocumented immigrants generally take jobs others don’t want, the study points out, “there are still individuals who will suffer a loss of their job from less expensive competition.”The results of the study are based on two anonymous surveys administered in 2007 to about 120 congregants of St. Adalbert Parish in South Bend who were undocumented.

The survey sample is likely representative of the local Hispanic undocumented community, the study says.

Buckles told me she was surprised by a finding that the amounts of money immigrants send to families back home are not as high as she expected, averaging about $54 per month.

That seems to support the finding that only 46 percent of those surveyed said they would seriously consider someday returning to their country of origin permanently, she said.

Wozniak told me she was surprised by the study’s finding that a majority of undocumented workers pay taxes. The average total taxes paid by those surveyed is nearly $300 per month.The study was funded through the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns.

Buckles said it was published in the undergraduate journal “Beyond Politics: An Undergraduate Review of Politics of the University of Notre Dame.”

Donnelly’s view of the Constitution

March 28, 2008

(The following was submitted by a DW reader):

Rep. Donnelly spoke yesterday at Notre Dame on “pro-life” issues, full story available here:

Donnelly, the Democratic representative of Indiana’s second district said despite people’s impressions of the Democratic Party, the party is not inherently pro-choice.

He told a story of a question he received during a candidate night in his 2006 campaign. A woman asked why it was his business if she and her pregnant daughter decided an abortion was the best option for the child and family.

Donnelly responded that the issue became one of what is necessary to define human life. Since he defines an unborn baby as a human, he said, he is constitutionally required to protect it.

“That was the end of questioning on that subject for the night,” he said. “The point is to protect that child.”


The problem with Donnelly’s approach is that the Supreme Court doesn’t support HIS interpretation of the Constitution. He may have his views on the Constitution and its protections, should he be voting to restrict rights that have been repeatedly upheld by several Supreme Court decisions?

Donnelly to speak at Notre Dame on “pro-life” issues

March 25, 2008


12:10 p.m. Wednesday. “Pro-Life Issues in the 110th Congress,” U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. Room 121, Notre Dame Law School