UPDATED June 18th, 2012
The EPA is not using drones to spy on ranchers. Instead they are using small, piloted airplanes, as The Washington Post reports:
This is the part that’s true: For more than a decade, EPA inspectors have flown over farmland in small private planes — the traditional kind of aircraft, with people inside them. The inspectors are looking for clean-water violations, like dirty runoff or manure dumped into a stream.
The EPA says the flights are legal, under a 1986 Supreme Court decision. And they’re cheap: An on-the-ground inspection might cost $10,000, but it costs just $1,000 to $2,500 to survey the same farm by air. An agency spokesman said these flights are not happening more frequently now than in the past.
“It is truly an invasion of privacy,” said Chuck Folken, who runs a farm and cattle feedlot in Leigh, Neb.
NorthernAg.Net shares the story from MSNBC about the EPA using drones to spy on ranchers.
A Nebraska cattlemen’s group is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to stop pollution-control flights over ranches, claiming it amounts to spying on citizens. EPA, meanwhile, says the flights are an effective way to quickly spot — and stop — pollution from manure lagoons and other waste at large livestock operations.
Nebraska’s five federal lawmakers joined the fight this week, demanding to know on what authority EPA is flying over and photographing private property.
Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns (R) had this to say.
Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is using aerial drones to spy on farmers in Nebraska and Iowa. The surveillance came under scrutiny last week when Nebraska’s congressional delegation sent a joint letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
“They are just way on the outer limits of any authority they’ve been granted,” said Mike Johanns, a Republican senator from Nebraska.
Fox News also joined in on the discussion, featuring bi-partisan concern.
DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: So anybody think about Nebraska lately? Imagine you are a farmer or rancher and you look up and see this plane and a couple days later, you get a note in the mail that says, EPA has been flying overhead on your land and you have a discharge to, without permit letter — well, anyway, this what is happening.
The EPA is flying overhead — spying, basically, on farmers and ranchers. They say they are doing regulation and checking to make sure. But there’s a bipartisan coalition led by Senator Johanns and Congressman Adrian Smith out there to ask EPA, what in the world are you doing?
Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com