Senators seek answers from EPA

A group of U.S. senators is pressing the EPA for answers on its recent decision to release detailed information on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to environmental groups.

Senate Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee have sent a letter to the acting EPA administrator asking him to detail steps EPA is taking to investigate the matter.  Specifically, the senators want the agency to examine possible conflicts of interest or what the senators call “inappropriate relationships” between EPA employees and the groups that requested the information.

In February, the EPA disclosed that it had released information on CAFOs to environmental activist organizations through the Freedom of Information Act.  Those groups include the Pew Charitable Trust, Earth Justice and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Livestock groups have been critical of the action.  They say the information included personal data, including specific locations, addresses and phone numbers.  Kristen Hassebrook of Nebraska Cattlemen tells the Lincoln Journal-Star that what the EPA provided amounts to “a one-stop shopping database” for organizations that might represent a security threat.

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