Sen. Mike Johanns wants answers from the Environmental Protection Agency about its release of the personal information of livestock producers.
The EPA, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request by Earth Justice, the Pew Charitable Trust and the Natural Resources Defense Council in February, released the personal information on 80,000 producers, 3,500 from Nebraska.
“One producer in Nebraska said, ‘Heck, you might as well rent the limousine and drive them up to my front door,’” Johanns tells Nebraska Radio Network.
According to information supplied by Johanns’ office, the information EPA provided included names, home addresses, personal telephone numbers and employee information-data that should have been redacted.
In early April, the EPA acknowledged not all of the information disclosed should have been released. It sent out an amendment release, but Johanns’ office says the agency failed to remove all the private information, including data on a number of operations in Nebraska. On April 30, 2013, EPA sent a second amended release, which included more redactions of records from Nebraska and Montana.
Johanns worries about how the groups might use the information.
“As creative as a human mind can be is how this information may end up being used and some groups don’t even pay much attention to whether they are violating the law or not and that gets especially worrisome,” says Johanns.
Johanns is suspicious of the EPA’s motives, accusing the EPA of being too cozy with environmental activist groups and giving them information that could be used against producers. In fact, Johanns accuses the EPA of engaging in an ongoing assault on agricultural producers.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]