EPA Releases Producer Information To Animal Rights Groups

Extensive list of CAFO and smaller livestock producers illegally collected by EPA and handed to environmental action groups.

Published on: Feb 20, 2013

NCBA and the National Pork Producers Council are both furious with EPA for handing extremist groups illegally gathered data on farmers who operate confined animal feeding operations.

NCBA said early this week it was notified by the EPA that the agency had been collecting information from states on CAFOs. The information was requested by extremist groups, including Earth Justice, the Pew Charitable Trust and the Natural Resources Defense Council through a Freedom of Information Act request and was given to them.

The information released by EPA covers livestock operations in more than 30 states, including many family farmers who feed less than 1,000 head and are not subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act.

Extensive list of CAFO and smaller livestock producers illegally collected by EPA and handed to environmental action groups.
Extensive list of CAFO and smaller livestock producers illegally collected by EPA and handed to environmental action groups.

"When we reviewed the information submitted by the states and released by EPA, we were alarmed at the detail of the information provided on hard working family farmers and ranchers, family operations including my own," said NCBA past president J.D. Alexander, a cattle feeder from Pilger, Nebraska.

"It is beyond comprehension to me that with threats to my family from harassment atop bio-security concerns, that EPA would gather this information only to release it to these groups. This information details my family's home address and geographic coordinates. The only thing it doesn't do is chauffeur these extremists to my house. For some operations, even telephone numbers and deceased relatives are listed."

The problem had recent roots in January 2012 when EPA proposed the Clean Water Act Section 308 CAFO Reporting rule to collect information from CAFOs and make it publicly available and readily searchable through their website.

Beef producers and even the Department of Homeland Security expressed concerns this was a serious overreach of EPA's authority and would create a road map for activists to harass individual families. They also said the proposal would aid and abet terrorism and provide a very real threat to the nation's food security.

The Pork Producers said the regulation was the result of a 2010 "sweetheart" deal between EPA and the environmental groups. It says the deal was struck while EPA and livestock and poultry producers were in the middle of a lawsuit brought by NPPC over EPA's 2008 CAFO rule, which required large livestock and poultry operations that "propose to" or that "might" discharge into waterways to obtain Clean Water Act permits. A federal appeals court ruled that the CWA requires permits only for farms that actually discharge.

EPA withdrew the 308 rule on these grounds but then indicated it still wanted to collect data on CAFOs to "more effectively carry out its CAFO permitting programs on a national level and ensure that CAFOs are implementing practices to protect water quality and human health."

NPPC said EPA then gathered the data from state water agencies without informing them about its intention to share the information with outside groups, including through a searchable national database.

NCBA said it has since learned that EPA still intends to use this gathered data to create a national searchable database of livestock operations, despite earlier objections and apparent agreements.

Alexander said this action by EPA just proves that our nation says it is concerned with national security, but does not care about personal small business security.

"Cattle producers won this issue with EPA's decision to withdraw the rule and with the withdrawal we had hoped precautions would be taken by the agency to protect such information. Instead of protecting this information, EPA was compiling it in a nice package for these groups, all on the federal dole," Alexander fumed.

With USDA threatening to shut down meat inspection to control spending, Alexander asked, how can EPA afford to compile all this data?

Story Tags: EPA, livestock, NCBA, CAFO, usda

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The "sweetheart deals" are "dirty deals". Some people should probably go to jail, but the under-the-table cash transfers being investigated might put some private citizens safety in jeopardy. It certainly is a brave new world...

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is why Florida refused to collect this information for the EPA. This was our concern here at FDEP and why we did not comply.

  3. Anonymous says:

    NWO - New World Order... Agenda 21... Read Glen Beck AGENDA 21 with Harriet Parke... Scray...

  4. shar says:

    Why is it that anyone can go online and find out how much anyone was paid under EQIP for about the past 10 years, but we cannot find out how much anti ag organizations have been paid in legal fees extortion?

  5. Anonymous says:

    As a small rancher we are appalled that the EPA would choose to give out information on us to obvious radical persons bent on our destruction. How do they manage the time and money to do this, but not do their real job helping out Americans who are paying all of their salaries. WE NEED TO DEMAND OF OUR CONGRESSMEN TO CLOSE THE EPA AND USDA.

    • LN says:

      Don't ignore that the powers fully support and lawfully with a FOYA published all those gun permit holders in the Jornal News and don't think that small producers of anything or small business in this country is anylonger valued. We are the enemy because the govt. doesn't yet control us.

  6. Anonymous says:

    As a producer of top quality grass fattened (green) beef, (25 cows) I know the difficulty of the small farmer to legally sell locally.The nearest USDA slaughter house is 100 miles away. But to join up with the Ms Berber types is a false hope. If these enviro's succeed on eliminating (big ag) they will turn on the next biggest and demonize them and so on, until, like the the 1930 Bolsheviks they will come after your last cow in the quest for fairness and justice. The modern lib,democrat, environmentalist have the same political under pinning as their ideological for-bearers. I have known survivors who lost everything,the last cow,last chicken and their freedom as the socialists of the day sought utopia. Living memory of this horror is mostly gone, but ideological forces that caused it are back. Find a survivor of 1930 eastern Europe and their feeble voices and wisdom will tell of the ominous path we are on. Classical liberalism is dead...modern liberalism is evolving more leftist daily as is Obama and company. Ms Berber and cohorts offer a false hope!

  7. Anonymous says:

    You may like to read the story at: http://www.thedogpress.com/SideEffects/HSUS-Political-Power-Revealed-132.asp Half way down the page....re: USDA Could be a reason to take a look at the real agenda of USDA.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It is tragic to see the government care to little about family farms. Not only was the information collected and released about large and medium sized CAFOs, but contained information about those small family farms that some individuals seem to be so concerned about. I hope that there is backlash against the EPA because they fail to realize that the information released contains information about the address of families who live and work on farms NO MATTER WHAT SIZE. It is incomprehensible to think that the government cares so little about people who work hard every day to provide a safe and wholesome product to consumers. Additionally, the EPA could have limited the information they provided through the FOIA request. I feel like the address of my 100 cow dairy should NOT be provided to anyone because I also happen to live on the same land the farm is located. If my personal information that could also be considered confidential business information cannot be kept from extreme activist groups, nothing will ever be safe from the prying eyes of the public.

    • LN says:

      This tyranical govt. following the footsteps of other dynasties to control the people, control the food, control the fuel, control the people, that means putting all independants out of business.

  9. Ed says:

    This is what you get when liberals like Obama and Harkin are in charge of Washington. We need some more tea party conservatives to limit the power of the EPA. I hope that all the farmers who voted for Obama are happy now.

    • LN says:

      Rural America did not vote for Obuma....look at a map of how it played out, the cities voted for him, where those whom live off of the taxpayers are amassed.

  10. Anonymous says:

    And this is precisely why I refused to answer many questions in the recent Agricultural Census rammed down our throats by the democrat dominated Dept. of Agricluture

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am truely alarmed by the content of this article and by some of the posted comments. We, as Americans, are all trying to reach the same goal, healthy, safe food for our families. I moved away from our family farm for over 10 yrs, looking for 'the better life in the big city'. Boy did I find it! 'Treated' water, increased medical visits, stress, and pills/vitamins to keep me 'healthier'. I left everything there, including my hefty paychecks, and came back to our family operation for the safer water and truly healthier lifestyle. We live off the land, water, and air around us, so why would we pollute it?!? We eat what we raise and grow, we are consumers, just like everyone else in America. Our land has been in our family for 140 years, and I am proud to say that it will stay in our family for many generations to come.

    • Bernadette Barber of www.virginiafoodfreedom.com says:

      Please see the book CAFO by Daniel Imhoff. www.cafothebook.org Big Ag uses the imagery of the quaint small farmer while denying him the right to "process" on his land. I would much prefer buying my sausage from a small farmer who raises them in the woods, than from a CAFO who sends the pigs off to Smithfield who uses foreign nationals to render it. But big Ag and Big food halt it at every turn under the guise of "consumer safety". So lets see some SMALL farmers get out there and stand up. We wouldn't have the mess of the EPA if not for the CAFO mentality and the Monsanto Corn machine pushing it and the Farm Subsidies driving it. Lets get back to a little American Freedom again and tell Farm Bureau to back small farms, raw milk, and on farm processing and local butcher shops that don't require the onerous regs of huge corps who control all the food in this nation.

  12. Anonymous says:

    For the people that think it's such a great idea for the EPA to compile this list, how would you enjoy a government agency giving your name, phone number, and home address to your worse adversary? You realize the number one domestic terrorist groups are animal rights groups?

  13. Anonymous says:

    While releasing addresses and phone numbers seems overreaching for the EPA, these businesses weren't "secret". They are researchable as public businesses already. So unless they are breaking any animal welfare or environmental laws, what are they worried about?

    • Steve N says:

      I suppose nothing, but then, I notice you posted anonymously. What are you worried about?

  14. Anonymous says:

    o'bamas epa out to hurt the american rancher and farmer,i agree that there has to be rules and regulations,but to side with the enviro whackcos is putting the families of these ranchers at risk

  15. Anonymous says:

    I suggest that you go buy your beef, pork, chicken, goat meat from a FOREIGN COUNTRY anonymous 2-21-2013

  16. Anonymous says:

    Invasion of privacy. Pure and simple. Why, exactly, does ANYBODY need to know where we live? I can only use the common sense that God gave me and assume it will not be for anything to my benefit. "Anonymous" who posted at 1:33, you said "And you are obviously very extreme in the need for control of my environment and my health." You must be referring to Obama, who you undoubtedly voted for. You liberals are all the same. So "tolerant" and open-minded, to anyone who shares your exact opinion! We risk our lives on a daily basis to feed people. We are on call 24-7-365-for life. Why? We love animals, the people, and the lifestyle. Mind your own business, and stop trying to make our jobs harder than they already are. We do the best we can. Our animals are well taken care of. They are never hungry. From a business standpoint, it won't make us money to mistreat them. From a moral standpoint, it's just the right thing to do. If that bothers you, EAT TOFU and do something truly useful, like ENDING ABORTION. That is cruelty on a whole different level.

    • Bernadette Barber says:

      Ohh , lets pull the ABORTION card and be on moral highground above these "liberals" ! I am a prolife card carrying republican. But I am tired of the hypocrisy of "humane" treatment by warehouse operators of farm animals. Its sick... face it. God isnot smiling on a vertical integrator, pumping his animals up with chemicals and antiobiotics. The toxic effluent is horrid. These animals need to be out in green grass and sunshine. "Farmers" need to stand up to the corporate interests and become farmers again. real stewards of the land. On farm processing is what we need. The food interests in this nation need to become localized again. And regarding the exposure of names, maybe if one wasnot accepting subsidies, one might not need to worry.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Don’t Pollute and you will have no worries. I will continue to collect my own data. (Location, Nitrate, EColi) & provide it to EPA for enforcement actions. The State & County does nothing – Thank God for EPA and people with brass to stand up against the polluters……

    • Bernadette Barber says:

      Thanks for keeping the data!! Please publish it. You familiar with Rick Dove? Check him out!!

    • Bernadette Barber of www.virginiafoodfreedom.org says:

      Please remember the EPA has allowed these operations to continue and grow. the EPA is a money hog just like the USDA. If we are to make a difference, it is to buy locally. I would like to be considered a person of brass. Who I really love is EWG.org with its farm subsidy database!! Thanks for the shout out.

  18. Anonymous says:

    So you are basically telling us that you have every right on this planet to pollute our air, our water, our land, and keep animals under horrific conditions until they are moved to slaughter facilities, but I--as a consumer--have no right to know where these CAFOs are? You must be kidding. And you are obviously very extreme in the need for control of my environment and my health. Further, just looking at the list of groups you call extreme really shows what you are all about. Pew Charitable Trust an extreme group? Maybe you need to become more moderate in the way you relate to us consumers and add transparency, even that appears to be a totally novel concept for people in your industry.

  19. shar says:

    These groups get their way with legal action. It looks like ag has no choice but to bring legal action also. And sue the individual EPA employees also. Support Pacific Legal Foundation, and see their website if you are not aware of their great work.

  20. Anonymous says:

    This is a perfect example of why we can not trust big government. Comman sence is out the window.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Great job EPA!

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