Midwest farmers were outraged to hear that the Obama EPA was spying on ranches in surveillance planes. Rep. Tom Latham sent a letter to the EPA demanding answers,
“No federal agency has the right to treat the American farmer like the Taliban.”
To the Obama EPA – Iowa farmers are the enemy.
The AP reported:
Midwest ranchers have never been enamored with environmental regulators, but they really began to complain after learning that federal inspectors were flying over their land to look for problems.
The Environmental Protection Agency flies over power plants and other facilities nationwide to identify potential air, water and land pollution. It began using aerial surveillance in the Midwest in 2010 to check farms for violations of federal clean water regulations.
Ranchers who object to the program said they’re not trying to hide anything. It’s the quiet approach the EPA took with the program designed to spot illegal disposal of animal waste that they find upsetting. Most were not even aware of the flyovers until regional EPA officials mentioned it at a meeting three months ago.
“For me, it just creeps into the ‘Big Brother is watching you’ area, to where the government just feels like it’s getting more and more intrusive,” said Buck Wehrbein, who manages a cattle feeding operation in Mead, Neb., about 30 miles west of Omaha.
EPA officials explained during a meeting with ranchers in West Point, Neb., that they lease small planes that fly EPA staffers over cattle operations. The staffers take photographs as they seek evidence of illegal animal waste running off into rivers and streams.
Ranchers complained to their members of Congress, who responded angrily and then grew even more annoyed by what they considered the EPA’s sluggish response to their inquiries for information about the flights. Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns, a Republican, introduced an amendment to a multifaceted farm bill to stop the flights, but it fell four votes short of the 60 needed. Although most backers of the amendment were Republicans, 10 Democrats supported the proposal…
…The agency conducted three flyovers in Iowa in 2010, five in 2011, and one this year. In Nebraska, there were six flights last year and three this year.
Two more flights are planned this year in each state.