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Marijo Vik, Published July 10 2010

Peterson’s cap-and-trade vote disqualifies him for re-election

On June 26, 2009, during the United States House of Representatives Roll #477 at 7:17 p.m., Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., voted “aye” in favor of passage for H.R. 2454 – American Clean Energy and Security Act. This bill passed with a 219 to 212 vote and three representatives were not voting.

What’s the American Clean Energy and Security Act, you ask? You’ve probably heard it referred to as “cap and trade.”

According to an article in Business Week published the day the House passed the bill, “The legislation itself is enormous. It’s more than a thousand pages long, filled with obscure provisions that will keep an army of lobbyists employed for years. It’s been resoundingly panned both by groups on the left, such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, who see it as an enormous corporate giveaway, and by Republicans, who accuse it of being a massive tax that will hobble the U.S. economy. It even was attacked by the powerful farm lobby, despite a cornucopia of goodies added in the last few days to get their champion, House Agriculture Chairman Collin C. Peterson, on board.”

An article in AgWeek published July 6 stated, “The U.S. House version of the bill in time would kill the local sugar beet industry, according to David Berg, president and chief executive of American Crystal Sugar Co.”

That article went on to explain, “While farmers would be exempt from most provisions of the legislation, the beet processing plants use coal. If the factories are vulnerable, producers are at risk. Berg says if the carbon credit provision of the climate-change bill became law, the beet industry in the region would become ‘a historical anachronism’ within two or three decades.”

What was Peterson thinking when he voted for this bill? Why did he vote to destroy a vital industry in the Red River Valley? Did he sell his vote for a “cornucopia of goodies”?

Do we need to rethink our choice for representation in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District? Peterson may have done many fine things since 1990, but perhaps he needs to move on because he now seems to be out of touch with his constituents.

Take a look at Lee Byberg, a true conservative who is running for Peterson’s seat. I think you’ll find Byberg’s stance on cap and trade friendlier to the lifeblood of our region.