Bill would prevent EPA from releasing private information

By Spencer Chase

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, July 25, 2013 - Two Midwest Senators are proposing legislation that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from releasing personal information of agricultural producers.

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Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have introduced the Farmer Identity Protection Act (S. 1343) to prevent EPA from releasing private data of producers under Freedom of Information Act requests. Simply stated, Donnelly said the bill will prevent EPA from releasing “private and confidential information to the public.” Donnelly said while agriculture was not the only industry involved when information is released, they were the ones that worked with him to get the issue resolved.

“The ag community was proactive in working with us and saying ‘Look, we don't want our farmers to have to deal with this anymore,'” Donnelly said.

Since the private information has already been released, Donnelly was unsure it could be brought back in and taken out of the public eye, but that he was trying. However, Donnelly said he and Grassley were working to determine if this is standard EPA policy or was an accidental release. Either way, Donnelly wants to make sure it never happens again.

“I would hope it was just an accident. I don't know,” Donnelly said. “What I do know is that we want to make sure it never happens again.”  

Donnelly said he hopes to have the legislation enacted by the end of the year. 

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