WASHINGTON (AP) - The farm bill that Congress is considering would prohibit the government from disclosing information about farmers or their employees.
That possibly could prevent people from learning about nearby agricultural and large-scale livestock operations blamed for polluting water or soil.
The secrecy effort comes after the Environmental Protection Agency twice this year released names, email addresses, phone numbers and other personal information about some farmers and employees. The EPA later asked groups to return it.
The farm bill provisions were intended to protect those who fear retaliation from animal advocacy groups.
The House version of the legislation would prevent the EPA from disclosing the addresses, among other identifying information, of an owner, operator or employee of an agricultural operation.
Other federal agencies would be prevented from releasing information as well.