You are here: Home Food & Kitchen Food Industry Are EPA drones spying on US farmers? Are EPA drones spying on US farmers? by Becky Striepe June 8, 2012, 2:00 am There’s been a sort of mini freakout about EPA using drones to monitor cattle ranchers in the US midwest. So, what are these planes doing over Nebraska and Iowa? A drone is an unmanned aircraft used for surveillance. Military drones–like the ones that took out al-Qaida’s second in command earlier this week–can be armed with missiles and other firepower, but the drones flying over the midwest United States are armed with something a little bit less scary: cameras. The idea behind these drones is to monitor cattle ranches for Clean Water Act violations. EPA defended the surveillance in a letter. Here’s an excerpt: Courts, including the Supreme Court, have found similar types of flights to be legal (for example to take aerial photographs of a chemical manufacturing facility) and EPA would use such flights in appropriate instances to protect people and the environment from violations of the Clean Water Act. Some are calling this a violation of Fourth Amendment rights. Big agriculture must hate this, right? We’ve seen agricultural interests blocking transparency by infringing on freedom of the press with so-called Ag Gag bills in big farming states. Do these fly-overs violate cattle ranchers’ civil liberties? Are aerial photos different from a on the ground inspections of big ranching operations? The Daily Show’s John Stewart had a hilarious take on the EPA drones: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c Game of Drones www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook What do you guys think? Is this an overstep or an efficient way to prevent factory farms from polluting our waterways? Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Friends of Family Farmers See more Previous article Concerns With Urban Animal Slaughter Next article Massive Algae Bloom Under Arctic Ice One Comment Leave a Reply The uproar is an obvious extension of “Ag-Gag” bills seeking to shield unpalatable agribiz practices from the public. There’s an obvious flaw: EPA does not use drones. Inspectors use light aircraft to monitor compliance, a practice started under G.W. Bush. See http://wp.me/p6sb6-dnK Reply Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.