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EPA favors: Aid too far

| Sunday, April 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Environmental Protection Agency endangered about 80,000 farmers and ranchers and their families — and showed whose side it's really on — by releasing personal information on them to radical environmental groups.

Earth Justice, the National Resources Defense Council and the Pew Charitable Trust obtained their names, phone numbers and email and physical addresses under the Freedom of Information Act.

Yes, the EPA contends state or federal law required releasing much of the info. And, yes, much of it already was available publicly from various sources. But by wrapping it all up in one neat package, the EPA did its radical fellow travelers quite the favor.

Fox News reports that U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., wants answers:

Did the release comply with the federal Privacy Act of 1974?

And with the Homeland Security and Agriculture departments opposing creation of such a public database, why did the release happen at all?

And given that the groups ostensibly sought to ensure Clean Water Act enforcement regarding “concentrated animal feeding operations,” why does the release include data on farmers exempt from such enforcement because they feed fewer than 1,000 animals?

The EPA has asked the groups to return the info; Pew has, but that's like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. Affected families must hope they'll be spared further harm by radical enviro-whackos aided and abetted by an EPA that has given the public one more reason not to trust it.

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