KANSAS CITY, Mo. – During the past week, several media reports were published regarding the concern US Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and others have that the US Environmental Protection Agency was reportedly using aerial photography to monitor livestock operation compliance with the Clean Water Act.

Although this may be news to many, the practice actually isn’t new. When MEATPOULTRY.com contacted EPA in Washington about such flights, the agency emailed the following statement:

“For nearly a decade, EPA has used manned aerial over-flights to verify compliance with environmental laws in impaired watersheds,” EPA said. “Aerial over-flights are a cost-effective tool that helps the Agency and our state partners minimize costs and reduce the number of on-site inspections across the country as the Agency focuses on areas of the greatest concern.

“For animal feeding operations, EPA uses over-flights, state records and other publicly available sources of information to identify discharges of pollution. In no case has EPA taken an enforcement action solely on the basis of these over-flights. EPA and other state and federal agencies also use aircraft for responding to emergencies such as chemical releases or to assess environmental disasters,” the statement concluded.