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Nebraska lawmakers question EPA flyovers

May 31, 2012 at 4:31 PM

WASHINGTON, May 31 (UPI) -- A Republican congressman has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to explain its use of aerial surveillance of livestock operations in Nebraska.

Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., joined by four other Nebraska congressmen, sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson demanding answers, Smith's office said in a release Tuesday.

"Farmers and ranchers in Nebraska pride themselves in the stewardship of our state's natural resources," the Nebraska lawmakers wrote. "As you might imagine, this practice has resulted in privacy concerns among our constituents and raises several questions."

"These operations are in many cases near homes, and landowners deserve legitimate justification given the sensitivity of the information gathered by the flyovers," said Smith, who serves as co-chairman of both the Modern Agriculture Caucus and the Congressional Rural Caucus.

"Nebraskans are rightfully skeptical of an agency which continues to unilaterally insert itself into the affairs of rural America."

The letter has asked the EPA to respond by June 10, Smith's office said.

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