All eight Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Thursday wrote to Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) questioning the agency’s decision to release personal and confidential business information related to recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from environmental groups.

“In releasing the personal and confidential information of private citizens and business owners, EPA has shown no regard for their privacy and safety,” said the Senators in the letter.  “Conversely, EPA has recently used FOIA exemptions in an overbroad manner with respect to agency information, undermining FOIA’s purpose by  preventing the public from learning what EPA is up to.  EPA’s current application of FOIA represents the antithesis of a transparent government and an offensive abuse of agency discretion.”

In response to a FOIA request for information related to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) from environmental groups, EPA released comprehensive data providing the precise locations of CAFOs, the animal type and number of head, as well as the personal contact information, including the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of CAFO owners.  Previously the Department of Homeland Security had informed EPA that the release of such information could constitute a domestic security risk.  In contrast, EPA has refused to disclose information relating to internal agency actions and emails, even when such disclosure is the intent of FOIA.  Click here to view letter.