'Tough' Negotiator Peterson Rocks Climate Debate
By ALLISON WINTER, Greenwire
Published: June 17, 2009
Rep. Collin Peterson, the outspoken House Agriculture Committee chairman who has emerged as a key figure in the climate debate, is used to rocking the house.
He has done so, guitar in hand, at night clubs, the Grand Ole Opry and Farm Aid as the leader of rock-country bands. And with gavel in hand, he has often rocked the boat in Congress, frequently going against his party on key votes and fighting for fiscal restraint as a founding member of the conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats.
Now the 10-term congressman from western Minnesota -- described as "tough," "stubborn," "smart," and "skillful" by his colleagues, a "champion" by farm groups and a "bully" by those on opposing sides -- is shaking up the climate debate.
Peterson is the de facto spokesman for the dozens of farm groups that have come out in opposition to the sweeping proposal for cap-and-trade legislation, one of the key agenda items for Democrats this year. He is working with House leadership and one of the bill's authors to try to find a way to address concerns with the attempt to curb greenhouse gases, which he thinks is not "practical" for farmers or the ethanol industry. Read More
Regardless of your politics, we should all be able to agree that agriculture shouldn’t suffer under the idealistic climate change bill that’s moving through Congress. With common sense at a premium in Congress, it seems as though Rep. Peterson has stepped up to the plate. He has stalled the progress of this bill until it’s workable for agriculture. The best option would be to kill the bill completely, but if that doesn’t happen, our food supply can’t be compromised. Between this and the Clean Water Act that is being reworked, all of agriculture could be regulated out of business. If you have never called your elected officials in Washington, today is the day you need to start. If you don’t make your voice heard, no one is going to care to hear it after the fact.