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Prepared Remarks Of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi And House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson At A Media Availability Following Their Meeting


Location: Washington, DC



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SPEAKER PELOSI: Good afternoon. I'm very pleased to be visiting with you this afternoon with the very distinguished Chair of the House Agriculture Committee - a person who has been very successful in my view in negotiating provisions in the energy bill that we're working on now.

As you know, we have a bill that unifies our country and our industries that says: "We are going down a path of change and transformation and we're doing it together."

Representing the industries in our country that are energy intensive and what they use is for us an economic issue to create clean energy jobs in America, to keep us number one in advancing green technologies. It is a national security issue - to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it's a health issue - to reduce pollution in the air, and it's a moral issue for us to pass on God's beautiful creation to the next generation in a responsible way.

To that end, we have had a wonderful collaboration to build consensus and a critical part of that has been the leadership of Collin Peterson. We just stepped out of the meeting which is still going on because we knew you were here waiting, and I have to go to the unveiling of my Republican colleague Jerry Lewis' portrait. So I wanted to come out to present to you Mr. Peterson and for him to give you his appraisal of how things are going.

Thank you for your leadership, Mr. Chairman.

REP. PETERSON: Thank you Madam Speaker. We in agriculture believe we will have a significant role in getting to energy independence in this country. We've been working on that with the Farm Bill and the historic inclusion for the first time of the energy title. And what we've been working on with Mr. Waxman has been to massage the part of the bill that affects agriculture in terms of whether we can develop the next generation of bio-fuels, and we can have an offset program that we believe works for agriculture because we are a little bit of a different animal than some other businesses in this country.

So we had long discussions and a lot of work has been done, especially over the weekend, but we have now resolved all of the issues including the bio-mass issue, which was still hanging us up this afternoon. So I think we have resolved everything, and from my perspective, we have an offset program which is going to work. It's going to provide carbon reduction and it's going to provide credits to industries that need it and that is what we were after. We were after getting a program that was workable, that made sense, that farmers would be responsive to and we got that worked out.

We also had this problem lingering from the 2007 energy bill regarding this international land use, which I had talked to the Speaker about, which I think she will remember before we voted on that bill. We've been trying to work on that the last year and a half, and that has been resolved as international indirect land use is out of the bill and that is a big issue for those of us in agriculture that have a lot of ethanol and a lot of biodiesel like I do in my state. We were a leader on this and we were the first state to have a mandate on ethanol, the first to have a mandate on biodiesel. When I was in the legislature, I set up the first loan guarantee program to get ethanol going in Minnesota.

We have been doing this a long time. We have a lot of experience and this RFS had to get fixed if we were going to get the investment that we need into the second generation of ethanol. And we believe that the changes that were made here, with the work that I was able to do with Mr. Waxman, will get us in a position where we can get the investment going and get this industry up and running. We're very close in a couple of places to have commercial cellulosic ethanol production - possibly with in the next six months. It's been some of this uncertainly over the RFS that has held up some of this activity that's going there.

So we think there are a lot of positive things in this for agriculture, and I think we're going to see the groups coming on board in support of this in the next day or two. I intend to support this bill and we thank the Speaker for her patience in dealing with us. I know some of the Members of our Caucus get a little frustrated, but we speak a little different language, have a little different culture than some other people.

But, like what happened with - you can ask Mr. Rangel on the Ways and Means Committee during the Farm Bill - it really helped both committees to understand where we're coming from, and the same thing has happened between me and Mr. Waxman and Mr. Markey and the staff of our committee and their committee. We now have a much better understanding of where each other are coming from, and I think a better base to work off of and so its been very positive from that point of view.

So, I'm glad to be here and I think we've got a good outcome.

SPEAKER PELOSI: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. If you could just imagine how proud I am of the work of our chairmen and this collaboration that we've had among our Members and of the leaders of their committees.

We have said when we passed the Farm Bill with the energy title in it that, as Mr. Chairman said, the first time that we had an energy title that, "America's farmers will fuel energy independence" and indeed with this bill, it takes us much closer to that place.

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