Midwest ranchers, lawmakers protest EPA flyovers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency’s use of airplanes to scour for signs of improper disposal of livestock waste has angered ranchers and some members of Congress.

The dispute is centered in Nebraska, where ranchers complain the EPA kept its aerial inspections quiet until revealing them at a meeting three months ago.

Ranchers complained to their members of Congress, who seem to be nearly as annoyed with the EPA’s sluggish response to their inquiries as they are about the flights themselves.

The EPA says the flights are a cost-effective way to protect waterways from runoff carrying livestock waste.

The EPA says the flights have led to 39 enforcement actions against Iowa livestock farmers and 14 against those in Nebraska.