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WASHINGTON – Two US Senators introduced a bill that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from releasing personal information about livestock and poultry producers.
US Sens. Charles Grassley and Joe Donnelly created the Farmer Identity Protection Act in response to the EPA's release of producers' names, addresses, telephone numbers and other information to three environmental activist groups through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in February and again in April.
“Livestock producers are grateful to Sens. Grassley and Donnelly for introducing this legislation,” said J.D. Alexander, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) past president and Pilger, Neb., cattle feeder. “Unlike other businesses, cattlemen and women live, work and raise their families on their operations. We have a reasonable expectation of privacy on our private property and there is no conceivable reason for the EPA to release this type of information.”
At the time, EPA said it lacked the statutory authority to withhold the information. The Farmer Identity Protection Act gives EPA the power to prevent the release of farm-specific information, instead allowing the agency to provide information only in aggregate without individually identifying information, or with the producer’s consent.