Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/23/2017

Jun 28, 2017 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Education, Energy

Swift County

Dear Friends,

This week I met with several groups including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative, and the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association to discuss continuing support for our local farmers and the natural resources they need to succeed. As a co-chair of the Congressional Franchise Caucus, I spoke in support of our district’s small businesses at the Franchise Owners Legislative Reception and recognized the important role they play in our local economy. Finally, it was great to headline the Congressional Rock and Roll Caucus event last night with my band, The Second Amendments.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Minnesota School Trust Land Exchange

Commissioner Frank Jewell, Commissioner Tom Landwehr

On Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr and St. Louis County Commissioner Frank Jewell visited with me. The two Commissioners updated me on a new plan to solve a decades old problem of making Minnesota School Trust lands located inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) more productive by exchanging them with other lands outside of the BWCAW. This would benefit both the school fund and the management of the BWCAW, so I look forward to this proposal moving forward.

Minnesota Soybean

Ed Hegland (APPLETON) and Bill Zurn (CALLAWAY)

Minnesota Soybean representatives Ed Hegland and Bill Zurn provided updates on the state of the biodiesel industry. Tax reform and the proposed border adjustment tax was a major issue of discussion. These policies will have significant impacts on farmers and soybean growers across the country, so I will monitor these proposals closely.

Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative

Brody Stapel (Cedar Grove, WI) and John Pagel, President (Kewaunee, WI)

I met with dairy farmers and staff of the Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative on Thursday. DBMMC is a testing cooperative based in Wisconsin but they also have members in Minnesota. They had a fly-in to discuss important issues to the dairy industry. Immigration reform was at the top of their list as a shortage of workers is a persistent need for the dairy industry. We also discussed issues with EPA and needed changes in the upcoming farm bill including changes to the Margin Protection Program (MPP) and forward contracting policy.

Congressional Rock and Roll Caucus

Rock and roll and country music have played a significant role in my life as a guitarist and singer. So when the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame visited Washington on Thursday, the Congressional Rock and Roll Caucus invited my band, the Second Amendments, to play a show for Members of Congress and guests in the House Agriculture Committee room. The goal is to highlight the positive impact of music and rock and roll in our communities and the importance of promoting the arts. Some songs we played include Pretty Woman, Country Roads, Mustang Sally, and Sweet Caroline.  

Minnesota Cable Communications Association

Justin Forde, Midco; Anna Boroff, Executive Director, MN Cable (Burnsville), Theresa Sunde, Mediacom (Waseca)

Members of the Minnesota Cable Communications Association (MCCA) stopped by to discuss strategies to deploy broadband throughout the 7th district and the future of cable industry. The MCCA is a trade association which represents all of Minnesota’s major cable companies.

Franchise Reception

On Wednesday I spoke at an event to honor franchise businesses. Franchising gives communities the choices they want, and it gives potential entrepreneurs a chance to be small business owners. There are 2000 franchise businesses in the 7th district and 15,000 statewide.

I am a co-chair of the Congressional Franchise Caucus which formed to educate Members of Congress about what franchising means to their district. For new business owners with little business experience, franchising gives them a successful business model to follow, which can relieve some of the uncertainty associated with starting a business venture from scratch. From car dealerships to fast food restaurants to insurance to convenience stores, the franchise business model is an integral part of the U.S. economy.

Tru Shrimp

On Monday, it was announced that the first Tru Shrimp harbor is coming to Luverne in Rock County. This type of rural economic development would not be possible without the Lewis and Clark water infrastructure project. Bringing critical water resources to areas in southwest Minnesota can generate business interest and creates jobs in neighboring communities, too. I will continue to support completion of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System so those rural areas can continue to grow economically.  

Pipeline EIS Meeting

There are many different pipelines that we do not see as we go about our daily business such as water, natural gas, oil and many other utilities. The 7th District is geographically positioned for oil pipelines coming from North Dakota and Canada. Enbridge Energy has submitted an application to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to replace a 50 year old pipeline. The Minnesota portion runs from the Canadian border to a terminal in Clearbrook, Minnesota, and then on to Superior, Wisconsin. A portion of the oil is pumped to refineries in the Twin Cities by the Minnesota Pipe Line Company. Most Midwest Refineries receive oil directly or indirectly from Enbridge. To accomplish the Line 3 replacement, an "Environmental Impact Statement” needs to take place. 

 A series of 22 public meetings was carried out to gather comments on the "Draft Environmental Impact Statement.” This information will assist the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which decides to issue or not issue a 1) Certificate of Need and a 2) Route Permit. As the Congressman for the 7th District, my staff is monitoring these meetings and keeping me informed.

Legislative Update

Agriculture Committee Update

The Agriculture Committee met Thursday morning to review university research programs ahead of the next farm bill. Agriculture research is vital to the industry’s future. The research done by our land grant universities and other institutions invests in the next crop of agricultural scientists and producers while ensuring that our farmers can be competitive and continue to meet the growing, worldwide demands for their products. I would like to see the next farm bill continue our commitment to ag research in a way that allows for continued advancement but also recognizes our budget challenges because ag research is the foundation of continued innovation in agriculture. Along with increased productivity, ag research has led to improvements in individual health and the environment, among other benefits.


2017 PBS Digital Innovators

Nathan Lund, a teacher at Minnewaska Area Schools, has been selected as a 2017 PBS Digital Innovator in recognition of his thoughtful and innovative educational approach. I would like to congratulate Nathan and thank him for helping to equip Minnesota’s youth with the analytical and intellectual tools they will need to improve our communities.

This Week in American History

On June 21, 1921 the famous actress Jane Russell was born in Bemidji. After her breakout role in The Outlaw, Russell starred in more than a dozen hit movies, culminating in her earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Spotted in the Seventh

Can YOU guess what was Spotted in the Seventh? Each week, the newsletter will feature a landmark or site somewhere in Western Minnesota. The first person to name the location wins! The location of the photo as well as the winner will be revealed in the next newsletter.

This week’s landmark is a great example of community-wide solutions. This “garden” works best on a sunny day…

Congratulations to Patrick Winters of Benson for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the Swift County Courthouse in Benson!

Share your guess on our website –

“Blue Pines”
Sylvia Venberg (FERGUS FALLS)