Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN-07), soon to be chair of the House Agriculture Committee, had some choice words for his fellow Democrats whom he believes are siding with “extreme environmentalists” over Minnesota’s farmers.
“In a district like mine, the biggest problem we have is with the environmentalists,” said Peterson, who represents one of the largest agriculture producing districts in the country.
“They are the ones who are driving people away from the [DFL] Party. People in cities and suburbs just buy the extreme environmentalists’ propositions and push it, and don’t understand the effect they have in the real world,” the congressman continued in a recent interview with The Star Tribune.
Peterson, whose district encompasses a chunk of rural land running along Minnesota’s western border, said his constituents’ top concern is the environmental regulations being pushed by politicians in the Twin Cities.
“It’s all these government agencies getting into people’s faces,” he said, criticizing his party for not giving farmers “any help.”
“They’re getting harassed. As a party, we’ve become tone-deaf to the people on the farm,” claimed Peterson, who’s grown particularly frustrated with the state’s no-net-loss wetlands law. As its name suggests, the bill seeks to reach a “no-net-loss” of wetlands throughout Minnesota by impeding work that would require draining, filling, or excavating such spaces.
Currently, Peterson’s constituents are watching a national court battle play out that could prevent the use of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide used to prevent insects from damaging most crops.
“This is the only real viable option right now, until some other options are developed,” Minnesota farmer Brian Thalmann told The Star Tribune. His colleagues in the agriculture community have said that a ban on the pesticide would “wreak havoc” on farmers.
Peterson, however, is optimistic that he can work with Gov.-elect Tim Walz (D-MN) to oppose these measures, noting that Walz represented Minnesota’s rural First Congressional District before entering the governor’s mansion.
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