Pingree to focus on climate change and ag this Congress |

Pingree to focus on climate change and ag this Congress

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said Friday she will focus on climate change and particularly its meaning for farmers in this Congress.

Pingree is a member of both the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Agriculture Committee, having rejoined that committee this year.

“My goal in this Congress is to talk about climate change and get hearings going in those committees,” Pingree said in a speech at the Consumer Federation of America Food Policy Conference.

Pingree described herself as a supporter of the Green New Deal resolution, but in a veiled criticism of that list of policy goals said that in the “culture” of Washington it is important to focus on ”specific solutions.”

Pingree, who has a degree in human ecology and owns an organic farm, said this is her “area of expertise” and that she wants to shift the debate from ”silly things” such “people they can’t eat hamburgers any more or cows burping.”

Addressing climate change “does not mean the end of hamburgers or the end of farming or the end of the future as we know it,” Pingree said, but at the same time “for our grandchildren we want to say we did everything we could.”

Positive solutions to climate change can include storing carbon in the soil, making soils healthier and increasing farm incomes, she said.

Pingree said she also wants to reduce food waste and said the best way to do it is to improve date labeling on products. Pingree noted she and Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., co-chair the Food Waste Caucus and introduced the Food Recovery Act.

Pingree said she credits consumers with putting the pressure on Congress to act on climate change and urged the conference attendees to keep the pressure on.

“As with most important issues Washington is far behind,” she said. “The good news is consumers continue to make their voices loud and clear.”

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