Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 4/19

Apr 19, 2012 Issues: Congressional Issues, Education


Flood waters in Breckenridge, MN - April 1997

Dear Friend,

It was only 15 years ago this month that the floods of 1997 impacted many parts of Minnesota's Seventh District. The Red River, which flows north from Lake Traverse near Browns Valley all the way to Canada, experienced significant flooding that caused major devastation to communities and individuals throughout the Red River Valley. The Minnesota River Valley also experienced major flooding at Montevideo and Granite Falls.

As we look back, I'm reminded of how people in the Valley came together and rebuilt their homes and communities. I believe that out of the tragedy and turmoil that went on, some good came out of it. Hopefully the flood protections that have been put in place to date will help to keep anything like this from happening again.

 Sincerely,

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

A Sportsman's Week in Washington

This week has been an eventful one in Washington for sportsmen and women. First, I voted alongside many of my colleagues to pass the “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act.”  This bill seeks to expand opportunities for hunters and fishermen. Ducks Unlimited also celebrated their 75th Anniversary, which brought many conservationists and hunters from across the country together. On Tuesday, we announced a new Water Bank Program from the Department of Agriculture to help expand wetlands habitat in the Red River Valley, promoting wildlife habitat and helping to aid in flood management.

Water Bank Program: Better Wildlife Habitat for Waterfowl, Flood Prevention

Red River Valley

The anniversary of the 1997 floods reminds us how important flood protection programs are to the 7th District of Minnesota. That's why earlier this week I was proud to join our Minnesota Senators in announcing $7 million in resources to help increase wildlife habitat for waterfowl in the Red River Valley.  The funding, which comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service as part of the Water Bank Program, will also help improve flood prevention practices.

 Each year nearly 2 million people fish in Minnesota’s lakes and streams and close to 700,000 hunt Minnesota’s fields and forests which generate approximately $3.6 billion for Minnesota’s thriving “outdoor economy.”  The USDA’s Water Bank Program provides financial assistance to qualified landowners who agree to keep water on their frequently flooded land which helps conserve and protect wetlands that are critical habitats for migratory wildlife such as waterfowl.  The availability of Water Bank for this fiscal year will provide an additional option for landowners and water managers to help address flooding potential while also addressing water quality and creating wildlife habitat.

Agriculture Committee

4/18: Hearing on Reconciliation

The Agriculture Committee on Wednesday met to consider a budget reconciliation proposal as instructed by the Republican budget. I believe this process was a political exercise and a waste of time, especially when we all know that the Senate will not pass the budget and the Committee needs to begin writing a farm bill.

You can’t have a serious conversation about getting our budget under control when you take large items like defense off the table, which the Republican budget does. I hope that we can get away from partisanship and work together in a bipartisan and serious manner to set the priorities for farm and food programs for the next five years. 

The Committee this week also announced a series of farm bill hearings in Washington. I’ve heard from folks representing all titles of the farm bill from farm programs to conservation to nutrition and one thing is clear - they want us to get our work done, and they want us to get it done this year.

 Higher Education

 Earlier this week I met with University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler to discuss the future of higher education in Minnesota.  He and I both recognize the importance of maintaining our state's high standards of excellence in education. We had a productive discussion in the Capitol, ranging from where the University is headed to our own school experiences in Minnesota. Times have changed, but our emphasis on education remains strong.  Through our joint efforts, we hope to see higher education in Minnesota become the model for colleges around the country.

Peterson Pics