Sunday, August 30, 2015
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search


Lost & Found


Videofound in eagle creek with a collar no tags. very friendly non aggressive. call if he is yours 210-844-1951. clean and healthy

VideoStill missing long hair chihuahua. Near 3rd and 97 please if you see her she is very missed. Call jeri 409-781-3191
*Includes FREE photo online! mywcn.com/lostandfound
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

Warning: While most advertisers are reputable, some are not. Unfortunately the Wilson County News cannot guarantee the products or services of those who buy advertising space in our pages. We urge our readers to use great care, and when in doubt, contact the San Antonio Better Business Bureau, 210-828-9441, BEFORE spending money. If you feel you have been the victim of fraud, contact the Consumer Protection Office of the Attorney General in Austin, 512-463-2070.
Bail bond agent wanted for Wilson County and surrounding areas, available 24/7, customer service oriented, sales experience preferred. Call Monica, 210-897-8121 from 9-4.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos





Video Vault ›

Commentaries


Farm Bill Threatens Our Right to Know




E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story

Disclaimer:
The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
November 11, 2013 | 1,629 views | Post a comment

By Patrice McDermott

Families who live near or share waterways with large corporate farms or concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have a critical need to know some basic facts about these operations. The public’s right to this information, however, could be stripped away by the Farm Bill currently under debate in Congress.

Negotiators from the House and Senate are currently meeting to try to develop a compromise between the House-passed version of the Farm Bill and what was passed by the Senate. Among the differences between the bills, the House’s version includes language that unnecessarily cuts off public access to basic information livestock and agricultural operations.

We understand that the House’s intent in including the language is to make sure that the government does not release farmers’ personal information. But, there are two major problems with the way that the House’s approach to this: one, the language ignores that the law already includes strong protections for personal privacy; and two, the language is so broad that it wraps up information about corporate farms with small farm operations.

Earlier this year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the information of around 80,000 livestock operations across the country to environmental groups. After hearing from affected farmers and members of Congress, the EPA determined that it improperly released personal information. The EPA asked that the requesters return the information and the requesters complied, agreeing to return the original documents and destroy all copies of the information in their possession. In other words, the EPA determined that existing protections for personal privacy should have prevented them from releasing this information in the first place.

Beyond being an over-reaction to the controversy surrounding the EPA’s actions, the House’s language sets a terrible precedent for extending the Freedom of Information Act’s personal privacy protections to corporations. The House’s failure to define “owners” or “operators” means that the EPA will be required to deny the public access to not only small family operations but to large corporate operations as well. In a recent Supreme Court case, FEC vs. ATT, the Court ruled that Congress never intended for corporations to enjoy such protections under the FOIA. To extend these rights to corporations would allow them to abuse personal privacy to escape public oversight and corporate responsibility.

FOIA is built on the premise that if the public has a right to government records, particularly if there is a public interest in the information. The House’s language eviscerates the law’s promise of transparency by completely cutting off access to information that people might need to protect the health and safety of their family and the broader community. House and Senate negotiators must not allow this harmful secrecy provision to become law.

McDermott is executive director of OpenTheGovernment.org, and author of "Who Needs to Know? The State of Public Access to Federal Government Information,” and numerous articles. She is a recipient of the James Madison Award from the American Library Association in recognition of her work to champion, protect and promote public access to government information and the public's right to know.
 
‹ Previous Blog Entry
 

Your Opinions and Comments


Be the first to comment on this story!


You must be logged in to post a comment.




Not a subscriber?
Subscriber, but no password?
Forgot password?

Commentaries Archives


Commentaries
Commentaries page govtrack.us
Commentaries who represents me?
Heavenly Touch homeTriple R DC ExpertsDrama KidsVoncille Bielefeld homeauto chooserAllstate & McBride Realty

  Copyright © 2007-2015 Wilson County News. All rights reserved. Web development by Drewa Designs.