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Opening Statement by Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson
Energy and the Rural Economy: The Impacts of Oil and Gas Production

--As Prepared for Delivery--


“Thank you Mr. Chairman.

“Oil and gas production can have a positive impact on the rural economy. My state of Minnesota for example has felt the impact of North Dakota’s oil boom, including increased job opportunities in my district.

“At the same time, the market has recently exposed some of the challenges that come along with oil and gas production. Improving infrastructure like rail, pipelines or roads to transport oil during boom times or strengthening safety net programs that can keep our rural communities afloat during low price swings, are all areas for us to further explore.

“Oil and gas development has certainly helped some farmers and rural communities weather the recent downfall in commodity prices. This demonstrates the importance of a diverse rural economy and the role these types of value-added systems play in keeping it afloat.

“Agriculture is no stranger to fluctuating commodity prices and we’ve all witnessed the impact of extreme highs and lows. When commodity prices drop, rural communities, landowners, farmers and business all feel the impact. This is why it is important that we maintain a strong safety net and support a wide range of opportunities for rural citizens.

“I look forward to hearing our witnesses’ thoughts on this topic and yield back.”
 

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Peterson Statement at Meeting to Consider COOL Repeal Legislation

Business Meeting to Consider H.R. 2393, a Legislative Response to the WTO Decision

--As Prepared for Delivery--


“Thank you Mr. Chairman. COOL is something we’ve been working on for a long time. I thought the language in the 2008 Farm Bill was something we could all live with but that wasn’t the case.

“I’m disappointed that the WTO ruled against the United States but I think repealing COOL is premature.

“Of course no one wants to see retaliation but it’s important to point out that there are still several steps that have to occur before that would take place. Given what we have seen in the past – it took 15 months for the Arbitration Panel to issue a ruling in the U.S.-Brazil cotton case – it’s unlikely the Panel will rule on COOL retaliation within their 60 day window.

“I think we should take a serious look at the mandatory labeling requirements that are in place in more than 60 other countries. EU labeling rules, for example, require indication of the country of birth, fattening and slaughter. If a cow is born, raised, and slaughtered in the same country, then that is the country of origin. Imported beef can be labeled as “non-EU” if information is not available. For meats originating from countries where information about the animal may be unknown, the system allows for alternative claims of origin.

“There are obviously distinctions between the EU requirement and what we’ve tried to do but I think it’s worth looking at to see if we can find a workable North American solution.

“Again, Mr. Chairman, I think this bill is premature. I don’t think this is the best way to avoid retaliation and, quite frankly, I don’t think the Senate will be able to pass a repeal. I would suggest that we instead take some time to thoughtfully consider our next steps.”
 

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