EPA temporarily suspends FOIA releases

“A short-term victory”.

That’s how an American Farm Bureau official describes the EPA’s decision to suspend—for the time being—any further releases of personal and private information about livestock and poultry farmers.

Earlier this month Farm Bureau and the National Pork Producers Council filed a lawsuit and a request for an emergency injunction to prevent EPA from making another Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) release.  The agency was preparing to release more information about farmers in Minnesota, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma and Washington State. 

But according to Danielle Quist, senior counsel for public policy with American Farm Bureau, the EPA has now informed the groups making the FOIA requests that they will have to wait until the conclusion of litigation.

“I do consider it a short-term victory that EPA was willing to delay their response to these FOIA requests and that we didn’t have to go to the courts to force them to do it,” says Quist, “but we still have the major legal issues to resolve in this case.”

Quist says, from what they’ve been able to find, the latest FOIA requests came from five organizations.

“It’s various organizations called Fair Warning,, Progressive Farmer, a university and the Dairy Information Center,” she says. “Those are the FOIA requests that we were able to locate on the EPA’s web site.”

EPA caused an uproar in the livestock industry earlier this year when it released information on about 80-thousand farmers and ranchers in nearly 30 states in response to FOIA requests from three environmental groups.

AUDIO: Danielle Quist (3:00 MP3)

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