EPA flyovers of animal feeding operations like feedlots have producers and elected officials asking a lot of questions, and now the EPA has responded.
Kris Lancaster, a spokesperson with the EPA, told Nebraska Central News that the agency has been using aerial overflights to verify compliance with environmental laws in areas with impaired water sheds for nearly a decade.
"Aerial overflights are a cost effective tool that helps the agency and our state partners minimize cost and reduce the number of on-site inspections across the country as the agency focuses on the areas of the greatest concern," he says.
Lancaster says the overflights are used to inspect operations like feedlots.
"For animal feeding operations EPA uses overflights, state records, and other publicly available sources of information to identify discharges of pollution," he says.
Lancaster says that the EPA does not take enforcement action using only information gathered during the flyovers.
He says they also use their aircraft to respond to emergencies and assess environmental disasters.