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EPA Using Drones to Spy on Midwestern Farmers

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Last week, a government agency was accused of using unlawful unmanned aircraft to spy on land below. But we're not talking about a clandestine agency like the NSA peeking deep into mountainous territory inside Pakistan.

Try the EPA spying on American cattle ranchers in Nebraska and Iowa.

Outrage over the Environmental Protection Agency’s domestic spying program prompted the Nebraska congressional delegation to submit a formal letter to Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson.

The letter expressed the legislators’ concerns about the surveillance and its legality, according to Yahoo! News.

In response, the EPA confirmed that it has so far used drone surveillance over an area designated “Region 7,” which includes parts of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. The federal agency defends the program, calling it a cost effective means of policing cattle farms due to the high volume of livestock feeding operations around a Region 7 watershed with a history of contamination from farm runoff.

Jackson insists that the EPA drones are only used to observe animals.

Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE) wasn’t hearing it. He told the New American, “Landowners deserve legitimate justification given the sensitivity of the information gathered by the flyovers.”

The agency responded that, “Courts, including the Supreme Court, have found similar types of flights to be legal…[The EPA] will use such flights in appropriate instances to protect people and the environment from violations of the Clean Water Act.”

The EPA confirmed that they have conducted nine drone flights over Nebraska and another seven over Iowa so far.

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