EPA slammed by Senators over the leaking of farmers’ personal data to environmentalists
Senators slam EPA for leaking farmers’ personal data to environmentalists
5:23 PM 06/06/2013
A bipartisan group of senators is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to answer for leaking the personal data of about 80,000 farmers and ranchers to left-wing environmental groups.
“The EPA’s disclosure of personal information is not the first time sensitive data has been leaked to outside organizations under the Obama administration,” said South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune.
Thune joined a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter to acting EPA administrator Bob Perciasepe, asking the agency to answer for its actions.
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In April, the EPA admitted to leaking farmers and ranchers’ personal data to environmentalists, and has since redacted some of the sensitive records and asked environmental groups to return the released documents to the agency.
Senators slammed the agency, sending a letter in April criticizing the agency’s actions and questioning whether or not the EPA had violated the Privacy Act. However, Thune said the EPA has yet to respond to issues raised in the first letter he and other senators sent to the agency.
“These leaks provide further evidence of the growing credibility gap between the Obama administration and the American public,” Thune added. “This troubling pattern of unauthorized release of government-obtained personal information is unacceptable political intimidation. Americans deserve transparency and accountability.”
The EPA leaked personal data — including names, personal addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses — as the result of a Freedom of Information Act request made by the groups Earth Justice, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Pew Charitable Trust. According to Fox News, Pew returned the information to the EPA.
However, the EPA said that much of the information was already publicly available on state databases, on federal and state permits, or is required to be released by federal and state law. The agency still redacted information from 10 of the 29 states that had personal data.
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“It is inexcusable for the EPA to release the personal information of American families and then call for it back, knowing full well that the erroneously released information will never be fully returned,” said Thune in a statement to FoxNews.com.
The EPA did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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