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Letter: Peterson's proposed ag bill hurts Minnesota

U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa has reintroduced legislation, which, if passed, could effectively block states from setting basic standards for the production or manufacture of agricultural products within their borders, including how animals are raised.

The proposed legislation would prohibit a state from regulating the sale of agricultural products produced and imported from out of state. A nearly identical 2014 version of the bill met overwhelming opposition and, thankfully, was defeated.

Unfortunately, Rep. Collin Peterson (Minnesota -7th District) is one of a handful of co-sponsors of the current bill, known as the Protect Interstate Commerce Act or PICA (H.R. 4879/H.R. 3599). I hope that Congressman Peterson will reconsider his position. This bill defies logic and offers no "protection" to the people of Minnesota, North Dakota or elsewhere. It must be rejected.

Under PICA—which could allow out-of-state producers to disregard the regulations of the state in which they are selling their products—if any state permits the production or sale of a particular agricultural product, no matter how hazardous the product or unacceptable the production process, all other states could have to do so as well.

The proposed legislation threatens presently existing laws dealing with puppy mills, the sale of horse meat, dog and cat meat, eggs from battery-caged hens, and shark finning.

PICA could also undermine hundreds of state and local measures addressing food safety, food labeling, environmental requirements, child labor, alcohol and fire-safe cigarettes, among other things.

Congressman Peterson, why would you support a bill that could undo Minnesota laws such as those establishing rules for labeling perishable food, protecting herds from exposure to chronic wasting disease, requiring a secure covering to shield meat from dust, flies and vermin during transport and sales, ensuring safe application of pesticides and sludge on crop land, and prohibiting sale of adulterated eggs or dairy products, unwholesome poultry or game, adulterated commercial feed, or seeds that don't meet state standards?

Please change your position on H.R. 4879/H.R. 3599.

The Protect Interstate Commerce Act was not designed to protect residents of Minnesota and North Dakota. Please call your representative and ask them to reject this legislation.—Jack Fay, Detroit Lakes