Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 1/24/2014

Dear Friends,

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is promising urgent action following the Casselton derailment as we work to improve rail safety during the transportation of crude oil. Many folks from across Minnesota were recognized for their talent and creativity. A painter from the Freeport-area was named Ducks Unlimited 2014 Artist of the Year for his wildlife painting. East Grand Forks city alderman Henry Tweten received an award for his exemplary community service. In addition, three scholars in the 7th District were selected to participate in the Fulbright Program, a prestigious opportunity in international exchanges.



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Tougher Standards For Trains Carrying Crude Oil

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued three recommendations this week to improve the safety of rail cars carrying crude oil. This comes in response to numerous derailments and fires, including the accident in Casselton, ND. The recommendations included expanded hazardous materials route planning, an audit program to assess response capabilities, and an audit of train classification. The NTSB issued these recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stated on Wednesday that he expects to respond in 30 days with plans for immediate safety steps they will take to address the issue of train derailments.

This is a national issue, as well as a Minnesota issue. Hundreds of trains travel through the 7th District every day carrying crude oil. At the end of the day, safety must be a priority when we transport flammable materials like crude oil. I am closely monitoring the NTSB investigation of the accident at Casselton as we seek to determine the cause of the crash.

Ducks Unlimited

Photo courtesy of Ducks Unlimited

Recently Ducks Unlimited named Freeport-area man Scot Storm their 2014 Artist of the Year for his piece titled “Tranquil Waters.” Storm is a self-taught wildlife artist who has won numerous awards in the past, including a Federal Duck Stamp Contest. “Tranquil Waters” was based on a landscape scene in his rural Freeport property. He often travels to photograph different scenes from across the country and visits with folks in the area to learn their stories. He then incorporates what he sees and hears into one piece. Congratulations to Scot Storm for once again turning landscape into fantastic pieces of art!

To read more about Storm and his artwork, click here.

Henry Havig Award

Photo courtesy John Stennes (staff photographer), Grand Forks Herald

East Grand Forks city alderman Henry Tweten was awarded the Henry Havig Award, an honor for those who demonstrate exceptional community service. This is the most prestigious award that the Chamber of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks gives to a citizen on an annual basis. It is not the first time Tweten has been recognized for his service to his community and country. He was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained during World War II and the Silver Star medal for bravery.

Congratulations to Barbara Burke (MORRIS), Laura Marsolek (ORTONVILLE), and Kathy Steffen (WATKINS), who were selected to receive Fulbright awards to study, lecture, teach, or conduct research abroad during the 2013-2014 academic year. These scholars from the 7th District are headed to Latvia, Kosovo, and Ukraine respectively. The Fulbright Program is an incredibly competitive international exchange program that was established by Congress in 1946. Since that time, the Fulbright Program has exchanged 325,000 people in 155 countries worldwide and counting. It is great to see these folks being honored in their academic careers, and I wish them a best on their studies abroad.

This Week in American History

On January 20th, 1969, President Lyndon B. Johnson bestowed the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor awarded by the United States, on civil rights activist Roy Wilkins. He spent most of his life in St. Paul and graduated from the University of Minnesota where he was the school newspaper’s first black reporter and editor. An arena in downtown St. Paul is named after Wilkins, and in 2001 he was honored by a postage stamp with his portrait displayed in 2001.

Constituents from the 7th

Pam Benson (RENVILLE) and Sue Hinderman (FAIRFAX)

“Inner Beauty”
Megan Quittschreiber (FRAZEE-VERGAS)
2013 Congressional Art Competition