Iowa and Nebraska cattle producers will have the opportunity to question the Environmental Protection Agency regarding its use of aerial surveillance in upcoming public meetings.
The aerial surveillance, which was questioned by Nebraska Congressmen and defended by the EPA, is used to monitor cattle feeding operations. The EPA uses aerial surveillance to take photos in search of environmental violations. If the photos reveal violations, the EPA responds with an on-ground inspection.
The EPA is confronting the resistance head-on with a public meeting with Nebraska producers next week and a second forum in Iowa in late August.
Producers see the aerial surveillance as an invasion of privacy and an unnecessary practice. Any explanation by the EPA has failed to silent complaints. The Omaha World Herald reports an amendment to the farm bill by Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., to ground the surveillance failed by just four votes. Similar amendments to the House version of the farm bill have received support.
Aerial surveillance has been used by the EPA since 2010. The surveillance resulted in 39 enforcement actions in Iowa and 14 in Nebraska.
The open meeting is scheduled in Lexinton, Neb. on Monday night from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express and will include presentations by EPA staff members from the Region 7 office in Kansas City. The next meeting in Carroll, Iowa is planned for Aug. 30.