The five members of Nebraska’s congressional delegation have sent a joint letter to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson inquiring about the EPA’s use of aerial surveillance of livestock operations in the state.
The letter says the EPA flyovers have resulted in privacy concerns among livestock producers and asks Jackson to explain what statutory authority EPA relies on to conduct aerial surveillance inspections.
The letter asks Jackson to provide a response by June 10th.
Officials of EPA’s Region 7 met with northeast Nebraska livestock producers in West Point in mid-March to discuss their plans for increased flyovers in 2012.
At that meeting, EPA official Josh Svaty told Brownfield that flyovers are a cost-effective way of looking for harmful discharges of pollutants from CAFOs into rivers and streams.
But several of those in attendance at that meeting—including Kristen Hassebrook of Nebraska Cattlemen—expressed concerns about privacy and questioned EPA’s interpretation of its authority under the Clean Water Act.
In a separate news release issued Tuesday, Nebraska Third District Representative Adrian Smith said farmers have a right to be skeptical of EPA’s actions.
“These operations are in many cases near homes, and landowners deserve legitimate justification given the sensitivity of the information gathered by the flyovers,” Smith says. “Nebraskans are rightfully skeptical of an agency which continues to unilaterally insert itself into the affairs of Rural America.”
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