Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 9/2/2016

September 2, 2016

The night sky over Roseau, MN

Dear Friends,

Another round of severe storms swept the district this past weekend, bringing damage to Polk and Norman counties; I’m happy to hear of the community relief efforts and of neighbors helping one another. This week, I joined Congressman Kevin Cramer from North Dakota for community discussions on water drainage management efforts and energy infrastructure in the region. Finally, I wish everyone an enjoyable Labor Day weekend as we all take the opportunity to celebrate the contributions workers have made to strengthen our country and our economy.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Storms in the Seventh

Tornado north of Beltrami, Damage in Gary

Strong thunderstorms and tornados brought damaging winds and hail to Polk and Norman counties in northwest Minnesota this past weekend, resulting in further costs for businesses, homeowners and communities. You can learn more about the storms, clean-up efforts, and available resources through the below links:

To stay aware of future storms, you can download the FEMA app at

Water Drainage Management Roundtable

On Monday, I held a meeting with Congressman Kevin Cramer (ND) and approximately 50 stakeholders from the region on the issue of water drainage management. I started out the meeting by noting the long history in the valley on this issue and the frustratingly slow pace of progress. To move forward, we need to find consensus on how best to use tiling and water drainage management to hold back water in the soil profile at certain times, and lower the water table in preparation for spring floods at other times. The opportunity to provide needed flood protection, improve soil health, and increase agriculture productivity is too important to our region to let good projects be bottlenecked by red tape. I look forward to continuing to reach out to stakeholders with diverse viewpoints and expertise in this area as we work together to get this right.

WBI Energy

On Monday, North Dakota Representative Kevin Cramer and I visited with representatives of WBI Energy Transmission, a part of the MDU Resources Group.  WBI Energy owns and operates over 2,800 miles of natural gas transmission and gathering pipeline spanning major portions of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. They are proposing a Valley Expansion Project involving 38 miles of 16 inch-diameter natural gas pipeline that will originate on their natural gas transmission system near Mapleton, ND and connect to Viking Gas Transmission Company's natural gas pipeline near Felton, Minnesota in Clay County.  The proposed pipeline would provide a new source of natural gas to fuel growth in eastern ND and western MN. 

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission


On Wednesday, my staff aide Toni Merdan, attended a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) meeting in Fergus Falls at the Bigwood Event Center for a public discussion about the relicensing process for the Otter Tail Power dams in the Fergus Falls area.  The meeting was run by FERC employees pictured above.  FERC licenses are typically 30-50 years and the licensing process can take up to five years.  The licenses currently held by Otter Tail Power on the five hydroelectric plants on the Otter Tail River will expire on November 30, 2021. For more information and to keep informed of the process, visit   


Airport Infrastructure

The Department of Transportation awarded more grants this week to improve the infrastructure of airports in the 7th District. This most recent stream of funding will help ensure that the Hallock, Fergus Falls, and Myers Field airports continue to meet the region’s transportation needs.

NIFA Accepting Applications for 4-H Conference College Facilitators

The National 4-H Conference is the premier, national leadership and civic engagement youth event in 4-H and will take place March 25-30, 2017. During the conference, 4-H youth delegates, who are high school students, present their voices in 15 to 30 minute briefings to federal agencies on pressing national topics. College youth serve a major role at the conference as group facilitators for these high school youth round tables as they guide the development and presentation of the briefings.

The Division of Youth and 4-H at NIFA seeks diverse college students with demonstrated skills in leadership, group facilitation, conflict resolution, organization, and oral and written presentations to serve as facilitators. Membership in 4-H is not a requirement for new college facilitators. College credit is available upon request and facilitators’ expenses are covered (shared room for the week at the conference center, meals on campus, and round-trip transportation). Applications, along with instructions and qualification criteria, can be found on the 4-H website. Closing Date: Monday, October 3, 2016; email application to

This Week in American History

On August 28, 1963, over 200,000 Americans gathered in Washington, D.C. for an equal rights rally that came to be known as the March on Washington. This march served as a pivotal moment in the struggle for civil rights in the USA, famously including the “I Have A Dream” speech given by influential activist Martin Luther King Jr. The work of those who marched here, and all those who fought for racial equality, culminated in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Spotted in the Seventh

Can YOU guess what we 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 weighs over 17,000 pounds and took 29 years to complete…

Congratulations to Dave Smiglewski of Granite Falls for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the Pipestone National Monument in Pipestone County!

Share your guess on our website –

“Euphoric Calm”
Morgan Sorgatz (SACRED HEART)