U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today vowed to continue pressing for information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) use of aerial surveillance of agricultural operations after his amendment to the farm bill stopping this program received the support of a bipartisan majority of Senators. Although the amendment didn't receive the 60 votes needed to pass, it earned the support of 56 Senators, including 10 Democrats.
"EPA has been deliberately ambiguous when it comes to the size and scope of this program," Johanns said. "The Senate today sent the message that Americans deserve accountability and transparency from their government, and with regard to its aerial surveillance program, the agency has provided neither. EPA must be honest about this program or cease it entirely, and I will continue pressing for this information on behalf of all concerned farmers and ranchers."
The entire Nebraska delegation sent two letters to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting a full explanation of the agency's surveillance program. Administrator Jackson has refused to respond, instead delegating the response to a regional administrator who has been unable or unwilling to offer insight into the full scope of the program.
Neither delegation letter, nor Johanns, has suggested EPA uses drones for its surveillance program, as some news outlets have reported.