Nebraska senator introduces legislation to ban EPA surveillance

Eshe Nelson Contributor
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Nebraska Republican Sen. Mike Johanns introduced an amendment to the farm bill on Tuesday that would ban the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of aerial surveillance.

Recent revelations about the EPA spying on cattle ranches in Region 7 – the area covering Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri – led to lawmakers in Nebraska questioning the legality of what is being considered an invasion of privacy.  (SEE ALSO: EPA justifies spying on farmers, claims there are no drones)

Last week, Nebraska’s congressional delegation sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, expecting to receive a response that would inform them more comprehensively about the EPA’s surveillance program.

Dissatisfaction with the EPA’s response spurred Johanns to introduce this legislation to prohibit the agency from conducting aerial surveillance to inspect or record images of agricultural operations.

“This is a trust issue, and farmers and ranchers don’t trust EPA doing low-level surveillance flights over their operations,” Johanns said. “EPA’s surveillance program only adds to the deficit of trust this closed-door agency has earned of late. It’s past time for Congress to put an end to EPA’s use of aerial surveillance.”

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