EPA Erred in Releasing Personal Info About CAFO Owners, Court Says

DTN writer Todd Neeley reported on Monday that, “Personal information about the owners of concentrated animal feeding operations should never have been released by EPA back in 2014, a federal appeals court ruled unanimously Friday. Furthermore, a district court erred in not exempting the release through the Freedom of Information Act, the court ruled.

“In its ruling, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis ordered the case be sent back to a district court in Minnesota. That is where the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council had sought injunctive relief, which included requiring a number of environmental groups that were given the information to return it to EPA.”

Mr. Neeley explained that, “EPA already has released CAFO information from 29 states. The agency has collected similar information from seven other states it had intended to release, as well. The information includes GPS coordinates, financial statuses, addresses and telephone numbers of CAFO owners.

In its ruling, the court provides examples of how environmental groups use the information. On one occasion, the court said, environmental groups entered a private property to take photos they had planned to post online.”

The DTN article added that, “The information released involved tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“‘This was an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy by a federal agency in violation of law,’ AFBF General Counsel Ellen Steen said in a statement.”

This entry was posted in Agriculture Law. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.