The Senate Farm Bill amendment forcing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop its flyover inspections of ag operations has failed. Although the vote was 56 to 43, a minimum of 60 votes was needed for it to pass. Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns sponsored the measure.
“This is not about drones,” Johanns said on the Senate floor, “This is about flights over feedlots trying to determine if there is a violation and then pursuing that action. What we are asking for is for the public being advised of what they are doing.”
Johanns wanted the EPA to stop the aerial surveillance until the agency explained to the public what it was doing and why. Johanns says numerous attempts asking for an explanation from EPA administrator Lisa Jackson have been ignored.
Senator Barbara Boxer said the EPA needs to maintain its authority to conduct the flyovers because it’s a matter of “life and death.”
“Let me recall for you Wisconsin 1993,” said Boxer, “At least 50 people lost their lives from the bacteria cryptosporidium from animal waste. When you’re following a plume, the way to do it is from the air.”
Boxer’s amendment to defeat the Johanns amendment before a vote on it was taken also failed this morning.