UVALDE, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--J Allen Carnes who owns about 4000 acres of farmland in Uvalde, Texas, 90 minutes from the Mexican border, today reacted to the Environmental Protection Agency’s weak apology for releasing private information on farmers and ranchers across the United States.
Carnes says he is outraged that the EPA gave farmers’ and ranchers’ personal information, from their home addresses, to email addresses, telephone numbers, personal notes and more, to environmental activists under the guise of the Freedom of Information Act putting the agriculture community at risk for agro-terrorism.
Carnes says the EPA must do more than apologize as it has tried to do. “Our federal government is charged with protecting its citizens and has instead jeopardized the safety and well being of American farmers and ranchers, and their families.” Carnes says the EPA has violated the FOIA and the Privacy Act of 1974, and the agency owes American farmers and ranchers a full accounting of how and why this happened months ago with still no resolve today. He is calling on Congress for a full investigation.
“We cannot tolerate the federal government compromising the privacy of our farmers and ranchers potentially putting them and their families at risk. For that matter, I am becoming increasingly concerned with the casualness with which governmental agencies consider citizens’ privacy,” he says.
Carnes has been a volunteer advocate for agriculture in Austin and Washington, D.C. as president of the Texas Vegetable Association and as a director of the Texas Produce Association. He has grown so frustrated with bureaucratic ineptitude when it comes to agriculture, especially at the federal level, that he announced his bid for Texas Agriculture Commissioner in the upcoming March Republican Primary.
“I’m working to protect the family farm and ranch so our children and grandchildren never become dependent on a foreign soil for our food, fiber and shelter,” says Carnes. “Agriculture is the engine driving our economy, creating jobs and keeping our state and country sustainable, and we cannot allow the federal government to put our growers and their families at risk.”