Appeal of EPA Privacy Suit

A federal district court in Minnesota ordered EPA not to release farmers’ and ranchers’ personal information while the farm Bureau and co-plaintiff National Pork Producers Council appeal the court’s decision dismissing their lawsuit. By dismissing the suit, the court ruled that farmers are not harmed when the government compiles and releases a storehouse of personal information, so long as individual bits of that information are somehow publicly accessible, through an Internet search or on a Facebook page.    

Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says “We are pleased that farmers’ and ranchers’ personal information will be protected while we appeal the court’s decision… We disagree that the Internet age has diminished the individual’s right to protect personal information. Now, more than ever, citizens need their government to help protect their information—not gather it, tie a bow on it, and send it out to anyone who asks.”  

 The suit concerns personal information – such as names, home addresses, telephone numbers and GPS locations – of tens of thousands of livestock and poultry farmers compiled by EPA and requested by environmental groups through Freedom of Information Act requests.

Federal Court Grants a Stay