Short Term Victory
Despite the uproar earlier this year over how the Environmental Protection Agency oopsed in releasing personal and private information about livestock and poultry farmers to certain environmental groups, that agency was preparing recently to release yet more information about farmers and ranchers in California, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Washington State. This prompted the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council to file a lawsuit and a request for a temporary restraining order July 5th to prevent the EPA from making yet another Freedom of Information Act release. In response the EPA has decided to suspend a FOIA release to at least half a dozen groups which had requested the information. The agency has informed the groups that their information requests will have to wait until litigation is concluded. This is considered a “short term victory” by the AFBF and the NPPC, who will now drop the temporary restraining order request, but there will still be major legal issues to resolve through the courts. Federal transparency is one thing, but releasing farmers names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and personal contact information remains a major “breech of confidentiality”.