Legislation has been filed in the United States Senate to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from releasing the private information of farmers and ranchers.
Sen. Mike Johanns wants to prevent the EPA from releasing the personal information of farmers and ranchers.
“I understand that EPA has a job to do, but that job isn’t enabling the harassment of farmers and ranchers,” according to Johanns.
In February, the EPA released information on 80,000 livestock operations across the country, including 3,500 in Nebraska to groups such as Earth Justice, the Pew Charitable Trust and the Natural Resources Defense Council after the groups filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the agency. The EPA attempted to recall personal information that it released, but Johanns’ office says the EPA failed to redact the personal information and again distributed it.
Johanns has co-sponsored legislation introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, and Joe Donnelly, a Democrat from Indiana, to prevent the EPA from distributing the personal information of farmers and ranchers. Sen. Deb Fischer has also signed on as a co-sponsor.
“I’m hopeful that this bill will be passed in a timely fashion to prevent future failures by EPA to act responsibly in securing sensitive data.”
Johanns says the problem has been compounded by the fact that the EPA gave the information to groups which have been unfriendly to agriculture.