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FOIA News: Eighth Circuit Asked to Prevent Release of Farmers' Identifying Information

FOIA News (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Farm Group Asks Appeals Court To Reverse Ruling on EPA Release

By DTN/Progressive Farmer, April 25, 2015

Two agriculture interest groups continue to press EPA to stop releasing farmers’ personal information by asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to overturn a ruling by a federal district court in Minnesota.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council filed a 68-page appeal Friday. The groups said in the appeal that the release of personal information of concentrated animal feeding operation owners and other farmers to environmental groups in 2013 was “unlawful.” The groups ask the Eighth Circuit Court to reverse the lower court’s decision.

The Minnesota federal district court ruled that because some of the information had been posted online by state agencies, EPA was free to publicly release the same information under the Freedom of Information Act.

According to the brief filed Friday, the ag groups argue there is no “merit to the (district court’s) suggestion that citizens lack a privacy interest in information that appears on the Internet. That theory is one that might appeal to George Orwell, but it is not one that has a basis in law or common sense.”

Remainder of article here.

Read brief here.