EPA planes spying on ranchers? Lawmakers want answers

Nebraska Cattlemen and five federal lawmakers have joined together to question the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its use of flyovers to monitor the environmental compliance of farms and ranches across the nation. The EPA, which has been doing these flights for 10 years, claims that they are an effective, inexpensive way to quickly stop agricultural pollution issues. Nebraska Cattlemen and several lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith, believe that the flyovers, which photograph farming and ranching lands are an invasion of the landowners’ privacy. 

What do you think? Should the EPA be allowed to monitor America’s farms and ranches this way? We’d very much like to hear your opinion.

Photo: © Bill Gillette

EPA planes spying on ranchers? Lawmakers want answers

By: Miguel Llanos, MSNBC

A Nebraska cattlemen’s group is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to stop pollution-control flights over ranches, claiming it amounts to spying on citizens. EPA, meanwhile, says the flights are an effective way to quickly spot — and stop — pollution from manure lagoons and other waste at large livestock operations.

Nebraska’s five federal lawmakers joined the fight this week, demanding to know on what authority EPA is flying over and photographing private property. The lawmakers sent their demands to EPA chief Lisa Jackson on Tuesday, listing a battery of questions and demanding answers by June 10.

EPA has been operating these flights across the country for nearly 10 years.

“These operations are in many cases near homes, and landowners deserve legitimate justification given the sensitivity of the information gathered by the flyovers,” Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., said in a statement. “Nebraskans are rightfully skeptical of an agency which continues to unilaterally insert itself into the affairs of Rural America.”

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