The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis Thursday heard oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by NPPC and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's release to environmental activists of personal data on thousands of livestock farmers.
The groups are asking the Court of Appeals to reverse a U.S. District Court's decision to dismiss their lawsuit against EPA.
The lower court ruled that NPPC and AFBF lacked “standing” to bring the case since, according to the court, they suffered no harm from EPA's February 2013 release of information from farms in 30 states to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Earth Justice and the Pew Charitable Trusts under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests the groups filed.
In some instances, the data contained farmers' home addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and personal medical information.
After objections from NPPC, AFBF and other farm groups, EPA requested that the environmental organizations return the data but reissued it after redacting some of the information. The reissued data still contained some personal information on farmers.
In July 2013, the agency was set to release more data when the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota court issued a restraining order. That court in April dismissed the case. It's unclear when the Court of Appeals will issue its ruling.
Source: National Pork Producers Council