Somehow a story broke today that the EPA is using drones to monitor Midwestern cattle farmers. It seems that Congressman Latham sent a letter to the EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson stating that “If these reports are accurate, EPA has conducted seven drone flights over iowa as a method for inspecting animal feeding operations.” Congressman Latham did not specify the source of the reports. It has not been a secret that the EPA has been flying small piloted airplanes over Iowa and other states in search of feedlot compliance issues.
Apparently the EPA’s first response failed to adequately address the charge that drones were being used but eventually the EPA clarified that it was only using Cessnas with real live humans aboard.
Although the courts have ruled that law enforcement can fly over private property without needing to first obtain a subpoena, critics of the practice contend that the flights are an overreach by a federal agency. It is interesting that while the rest of society ignores the continued erosion of privacy that cattlemen are raising a concern. Now if we can only get rid of the invasive and useless searches at airport terminals.