As the farm bill debate continues in the Senate, lawmakers earlier today rejected competing amemendments that address the EPA’s using of flyovers and aerial surveillance to look for potential Clean Water violations at concentrated animal feeding operations in the Midwest.
An amendment offered by Nebraska Republican Mike Johanns would outright ban the process – and another by Barbara Boxer of California would allow the EPQto continue the practice under certain circumstances.
Johanns said the EPA was not forthcoming about what it’s doing with the information.
Johanns got a 56 to 43 vote, but failed to reach a 60 vote supermajority set by Senate leaders. Boxer’s competing amendment permitting the flight split 47-47, but also failed to reach the 60 vote threshold needed for passage. Boxer argued that the EPA needs to conduct overflights in small aircraft to trace waste plumes and investigate potential spills.
The EPA’s region 7, which includes Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and Iowa, started using the practice in March of 2010. It’s conducted 16 flights over the past two years.