"EPA had released the information, which sometimes included names of family members as well as GPS coordinates for farms, in response to Freedom of Information Act requests from the Pew Charitable Trusts and two environmental groups, Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council," Heller writes. "The groups were looking to assess the agency's implementation of the Clean Water Act, which calls for permits for CAFOs."
"At the time, the NRDC said little information was known about CAFOs, despite the threats from animal waste that they can pose to waterways," Heller writes. The groups said "more disclosure would 'provide a greater understanding of what is known about industrial livestock facilities and help identify ways that safeguards against CAFO pollution can be improved to protect human health and the environment.'"
Farm groups cited invasion of privacy concerns for not wanting to release information, Heller writes. Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a statement: "Farm families usually live on the farm and releasing this type of information was a clear violation of their personal privacy. The information could easily be used to encourage harassment or even violence against farmers and ranchers."