Small Business Tells Federal Court that EPA Has No Regard for Privacy Laws

Date: May 04, 2015

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Contact:
Kelly Klass 609-713-4243 or 
[email protected]
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NFIB
filed an amicus brief asking the Courts to stop EPA from releasing private
information 

Washington,
D.C., May 4, 2015
 – The National Federation of
Independent Business
 (NFIB), on
Friday, urged the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to
uphold federal privacy laws and prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) from releasing sensitive data on farmers and ranchers to environmental
activist organizations.

“The idea that the EPA has the legal authority to collect the
private information of a farmer and then release it to private organizations –
to advance their institutional purposes – is ludicrous,” 
NFIB Small Business Legal
Center Executive Director Karen Harned
 said. 
“The EPA is setting these farmers up to be harassed and threatened with
lawsuits. Not to mention several of the people affected share business and home
addresses and phone numbers.”

NFIB filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, American
Farmers Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council, in the case of American
Farmers Bureau Federation v US Environmental Protection Agency.
 
The case questions the EPA’s plan to release private information it has
collected on farmers and ranchers throughout the country.  Information
that has been gathered from state and local government records by the EPA
includes: GPS coordinates, home addresses, home telephone numbers, personal
email addresses and information documenting the size of these farms and the
number of animals on site.  The EPA has proposed to release the
information in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from environmentalist
organizations. 

NFIB is arguing that the Privacy Act and the Freedom of
Information Act (FIOC) protect small businesses from the disclosure of private
information. 

“An individual’s right to privacy should not be waived just
because they decide to engage in entrepreneurial endeavors,” Harned continued.
“We are asking that the court uphold small business owner’s right to privacy
and restrict the EPA from releasing information they collected without any
statutory authority.”    

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