EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s failure to respond to requests for more information on the agency’s controversial aerial surveillance program has raised the ire of Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns.
“Lisa Jackson may not have much regard for Congress—and I don’t believe she does,” Johanns says, “but the fact of the matter is farmers and ranchers have concerns about the program—and they’re legitimate concerns.”
The five members of Nebraska’s Congressional delegation have sent two letters to Jackson asking questions about EPA’s flyovers of cattle feedlots in Nebraska and Iowa. Even though EPA Region 7 administrator Karl Brooks did send a response, Johanns is still not satisfied.
He says wants to hear from Jackson herself.
“I don’t want to be obnoxious about this, but these people just refuse to cooperate,” says Johanns. “They just see Congress as an inconvenience in their lives. They don’t appreciate the oversight role we play.”
Johanns says it’s about transparency and trust.
“The public deserves transparent information from government—and it deserves it about this program. The EPA’s dancing around on legitimate questions is further eroding what little trust they have left.”
Johanns has introduced an amendment to the Senate farm bill to prohibit EPA from conducting aerial surveillance to inspect or to record images of agricultural operations.
He says the amendment does not affect the use of traditional on-site inspections.