EPA: We’re Not Spying On Farmers – Just Their Animals

The acting chief of the EPA sparred with GOP senators Wednesday over the use of aerial surveillance to help guide enforcement of water pollution laws in farm country.

Bob Perciasepe came under fire from Sens. Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), who slammed the EPA’s use of aerial surveillance of animal feedlots, calling it an intrusion into the lives of private landowners.

Perciasepe denied that the agency is engaged in surveillance and said the EPA is only trying to spot pollution.

Blunt and Perciasepe went back and forth at the Appropriations Committee hearing:

“You said it is not like you were spying on people. What term would you use?” Blunt asked.

“We were looking for where there may be animals and their waste in the water. So we are not looking at people at all,” Perciasepe said.

“So you are spying on animals …”

“Well, we are looking to see where we would send inspectors to see if there was a problem of water pollution,” Perciasepe replied. “So I don’t know that the animals are what we are spying on. We are looking at the conditions that could be creating water-quality violations.”

Earlier in the hearing on the EPA’s proposed fiscal 2014 budget, Johanns said he “can’t imagine why you would do this” and said the agency has failed to provide him with information he has sought.

“It kind of sounds like this is a federal agency that is completely and totally out of control,” Johanns said during the hearing of the environment subcommittee. “It feels like there is a federal agency out there spying on American citizens.”

Read the rest of the story here.

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