Farm groups sue EPA over farmers’ privacy


In April, the EPA released information about approximately 80,000 farmers and ranchers in 29 states in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests about animal feeding operations from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Among the released information were farmers’ names, home addresses and personal contact information.

The farm groups sued the agency to prevent it from releasing information about farmers and ranchers in Minnesota, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma and Washington state.

The environmental groups filed the FOIA requests out of concern about water pollution from the animal feeding facilities.

“We support transparency and frequently advocate for increased government transparency,” Stallman added. “But publicly sharing spreadsheet upon spreadsheet of tens of thousands of peoples’ names, addresses and other personal information is not transparency in the workings of government — it is an invasion of the personal privacy of citizens.”

In April, Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) wrote in The Hill that the release was a “breach of confidentiality” and has put owners of animal feeding operations “at the risk of possible vigilantes.”