EPA Says It Isn't Using Drones to Spy on Ranches. It's Using Piloted Planes Instead.
Last week we linked to a Fox News story regarding rumors that the EPA is using drone aircraft to spy on ranches in the MidWest. We're happy to report that the EPA denies this. We're less happy to link to a report on what the EPA admits that it is doing.
The EPA is releasing information to media outlets, saying it is not using drones. But the EPA says it is using small aircraft to take pictures of cattle operations in its "Region 7" which includes Kansas.
"So, what is the state purpose for this?" asks Wichita attorney Kurt Kerns. "Is the stated purpose of, well, we're looking for manure runoff and we're looking for compliance of EPA regulations. And that is the really state purpose." [sic]
Kerns says privacy issues are a concern. It's a concern some cattle operators in the Midwest are asking.
Kerns also brings up other privacy issues of pictures being taken from the air by surveillance of government entities.
"So they are doing regulations checks," says Kerns. "But, of course, while we're doing that we're also maybe flying over your private family picnic or we're also checking out your wife who might be laying by the pool."
So no drones taking pictures, according to the EPA. Just actual pilots taking pictures. That's better...right?
A Washington Post reporter sniffed around the Tatler today asking for a retraction of Friday's post. Here is that reporter's email in full.
FROM: David Fahrenthold
EMAIL: (edited out -bp)
I'm a reporter for the Washington Post, working on a story about reports (apparently false) that the EPA is using drones to spy on farmers in the midwest. PJ media wrote and posted an item asserting this on June 1: http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2012/06/01/epa-using-spy-drones-to-fly-over-midwestern-farms/
I wanted to know today: what source did PJ media rely on to make that assertion? Did PJ media attempt to check this story with the EPA before publishing it? And has PJ media issued any sort of correction or retraction?
I'm at 202.xxx.xxxx, and my deadline is 6 p.m. Eastern time today.
Mr. Fahrenthold, if you read the post, it is obvious that we are linking to an external source, so perhaps you should question them about the story. Perhaps you should also question your own newspaper about directly quoting the dead and launching irresponsible political attacks on people that it opposes for purely political reasons.