The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is taking legal action to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from publicly releasing personal information about thousands of farmers and ranchers and their families.
The lawsuit was prompted by the expectation that EPA will be responding this week to several Freedom of Information Act requests, so AFBF is seeking a temporary restraining order before the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.
By seeking an immediate court order stopping EPA’s imminent release, AFBF hopes to stall disclosures of farmers’ and ranchers’ names, home addresses, GPS coordinates and personal contact information until a court can clarify EPA’s obligation to keep personal information about citizens private. The National Pork Producers Council joined AFBF in the lawsuit.
“We are sticking up for the tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers whose personal information would end up in the public domain,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “This lawsuit is about the government’s unjustified intrusion into citizens’ private lives.”
Earlier this year the farming and ranching community was shocked that EPA released personal information about thousands of livestock and poultry farmers and ranchers in 29 states in response to FOIA requests from three environmental organizations. Now, in response to new FOIA requests, EPA intends to release additional personal information from farmers in Minnesota, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Washington.