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by Lacy Gray, click here for bio
Program: Food Forethought
Date: July 09, 12
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The Environmental Protection Agency’s practice of using planes to monitor pollution of America’s farmlands has become political fodder. Democrats defend the flyovers as a “cost-effective necessary way to detect cases where runoff from livestock waste might be polluting sources of drinking water and other waterways that can impact public health.” Some Republicans have deemed it as “using military-style drone planes to secretly observe livestock operations.” The truth behind the practice probably lies somewhere in the middle. While it’s true that EPA flyovers make it possible for the agency to survey thousands of acres at a time to determine which operations are polluting waters and threatening public health, it is also true that it’s a duplication of effort on the part of the EPA, as most state Departments of Environmental Quality are already authorized to implement the Clean Water Act in their states. It would have gone a long way in strengthening relationships and allaying producers’ fears and suspicions if the EPA had met with producers across the country to explain their aerial surveillance program prior to implementing the flyovers.
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