Obama EPA Illegally Hands Over Info on Livestock Producers to Extremist Animal Rights Groups
When the Obama EPA is not spying on cattle and pork ranches with drones, they’re illegally releasing information on livestock producers to far left extremist groups.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers are furious after the Obama Environmental Protection Agency illegally gave information on livestock farmers to extremist animal rights groups.
Farm Futures reported:
NCBA and the National Pork Producers Council are both furious with EPA for handing extremist groups illegally gathered data on farmers who operate confined animal feeding operations.
NCBA said early this week it was notified by the EPA that the agency had been collecting information from states on CAFOs. The information was requested by extremist groups, including Earth Justice, the Pew Charitable Trust and the Natural Resources Defense Council through a Freedom of Information Act request and was given to them.
The information released by EPA covers livestock operations in more than 30 states, including many family farmers who feed less than 1,000 head and are not subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act.
“When we reviewed the information submitted by the states and released by EPA, we were alarmed at the detail of the information provided on hard working family farmers and ranchers, family operations including my own,” said NCBA past president J.D. Alexander, a cattle feeder from Pilger, Nebraska.
“It is beyond comprehension to me that with threats to my family from harassment atop bio-security concerns, that EPA would gather this information only to release it to these groups. This information details my family’s home address and geographic coordinates. The only thing it doesn’t do is chauffeur these extremists to my house. For some operations, even telephone numbers and deceased relatives are listed.”
The problem had recent roots in January 2012 when EPA proposed the Clean Water Act Section 308 CAFO Reporting rule to collect information from CAFOs and make it publicly available and readily searchable through their website.
In Arkansas, farming is a way of life. Agriculture is the number one industry in our First Congressional District and for many families it’s a rich tradition. As Arkansas’s only representative on the House Agriculture Committee, I fight each day to ensure farm families in our state can continue producing the safest, most abundant and reliable source of nutrition food on the planet. Recently, I was informed the Environmental Protection Agency had released the personal information of livestock and poultry producers to extremist environmental groups. The information was released after the groups filed a request through the Freedom of Information Act. The EPA turned over personal information like phone numbers, addresses and even geographic coordinates to environmentalists. An overwhelming majority of the information released appears to be from farms owned by families who may now face threats to their homes and businesses. I have serious concerns over the EPA’s release of this information, particularly regarding individual privacy rights and possible bio-security threats to the nation’s food supply. Releasing this type of information makes producers potential targets of harassment, or even bio-terrorism. Unfortunately, this release of information is yet another example of the EPA’s overreach into the lives of hardworking individuals in rural America. As Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit, I am leading a group of 40 House members in writing a letter to the acting director of the EPA expressing our concerns and asking the acting director to ensure the released information is not improperly used. In the letter, we demand answers on why the EPA obtained producers’ private information and, most important, what steps the agency will take to protect the affected producers while ensuring these actions will never happen again. It is unacceptable for the EPA to do anything that could jeopardize our nation’s food security or threaten American farm operations. The EPA must be held accountable for their actions and bureaucrats in Washington must consider the livelihoods of farm families and our nation’s food-security before they cower to extreme environmental groups.
Hat Tip Mara