Weather Forecast


Thune slams EPA for releasing info

John Thune

WASHINGTON -- Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., sent a letter Monday to the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Bob Perciasepe, to express his concern about the EPA release of information on approximately 80,000 agriculture producers to environmental groups, including more than 500 farms and ranches in South Dakota.

This information, including the name of the operation, permit number, numbers and types of animals, and county of residence, was released to the environmental groups Earth Justice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the environmental arm of the Pew Charitable Trusts, Thune said.

"The EPA's complete disregard for the privacy and safety of our agriculture producers is unacceptable," Thune said in a written statement. "Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Homeland Security have objected to the release of this type of information due to serious bio-security concerns, yet the EPA continues this troubling and dangerous effort. The EPA has threatened the health and safety of agriculture producers and their families, and has damaged the security of our food system."

In other states, the information released gave addresses, geographic coordinates, phone numbers, names and address of employees, and listed deceased family members, Thune said. The EPA intends to create a national database of all livestock operations across the country, Thune added, which reportedly will be made available through its website.