J.D. Alexander, cattle feeder from Pilger and past president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, clearly has had it with the Environmental Protection Agency and its release of beef operation information to three activist groups.
Alexander commented after NCBA reported it learned this week that EPA continues to "illegally release information on cattle operations to activists groups Earth Justice, the Pew Charitable Trust and the Natural Resources Defense Fund."
It is the second time EPA has released producer information to those groups. In February, the agency initially did so and several weeks later admitted it had released too much information on livestock producers in 10 states, according to NCBA.
This week, NCBA said it was "appalled to learn that EPA continues to illegally release producer information. In this latest action, EPA again admitted it had released two much information on producers, specifically in Nebraska and Montana."
According to Alexander, who says his own information was released to the activist groups in the initial case, "It is clear someone at EPA is either completely incompetent or intentionally violating federal law. Either way, this action shows EPA cannot be trusted with sensitive information and should not have authority to procure or disseminate it. NCBA is calling for an investigation by the Office of Inspector General into this matter."
The records released in February by EPA include names of producers and operations, locations and in some cases even personal phone numbers for farmers and ranchers who own beef, swine or poultry operations. Most of the 80,000 facilities listed are not regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA), some having as few as 12 head of livestock, NCBA said.
After NCBA and other livestock groups expressed outrage over the initial release of information, EPA conducted a review of the records and admitted it released too much personal information for 10 of the 29 states included in the documents. After a second review, the agency once again said too much information was released for operations located in Nebraska and Montana.