[Congressional Bills 112th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 5961 Introduced in House (IH)]

112th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 5961

     To provide reasonable limits, control, and oversight over the 
    Environmental Protection Agency's use of aerial surveillance of 
                           America's farmers.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             June 19, 2012

 Mrs. Capito (for herself, Mr. Akin, Mr. Ross of Florida, Mr. Harris, 
Mr. Smith of Nebraska, Mr. Johnson of Ohio, Mr. Holden, Mr. Griffith of 
 Virginia, Mr. Goodlatte, Mr. Thompson of Pennsylvania, Mr. Terry, and 
  Mrs. Noem) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
             Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
     To provide reasonable limits, control, and oversight over the 
    Environmental Protection Agency's use of aerial surveillance of 
                           America's farmers.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be referred to as the ``Farmer's Privacy Act of 
2012''.

SEC. 2. LIMITATION ON USE OF AERIAL SURVEILLANCE.

    (a) Aerial Surveillance Restricted.--Subject to subsection (b), in 
exercising any authority under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act 
(33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.), the Administrator may not conduct aerial 
surveillance of agricultural land.
    (b) Exceptions.--The Administrator may conduct aerial surveillance 
of agricultural land under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act if 
the Administrator--
            (1) has obtained the voluntary written consent of the owner 
        or operator of the land to be surveilled in accordance with 
        section 3;
            (2) has given public notice in accordance with section 4; 
        or
            (3) has obtained a certification of reasonable suspicion in 
        accordance with section 5.

SEC. 3. VOLUNTARY WRITTEN CONSENT.

    (a) Consent Required.--In order to conduct aerial surveillance 
under section 2(b)(1), the Administrator shall obtain from the owner or 
operator of the land to be surveilled written consent to such 
surveillance.
    (b) Contents.--The Administrator shall ensure that any written 
consent required under subsection (a)--
            (1) specifies the period during which the consent is 
        effective, which may not exceed one year;
            (2) contains a specific description of the geographical 
        area to be surveilled; and
            (3) if requested by the owner or operator of the land to be 
        surveilled, contains limitations on the days and times during 
        which the surveillance may be conducted.
    (c) Assurance of Voluntary Consent.--The Administrator shall ensure 
that any written consent required under subsection (a) is granted 
voluntarily by the owner or operator of the land to be surveilled, and 
the Administrator may not threaten additional, more detailed, or more 
thorough inspections, or otherwise coerce or entice such owner or 
operator, in order to obtain such consent.

SEC. 4. PUBLIC NOTICE.

    (a) Deadline for Notification.--In order to conduct aerial 
surveillance under section 2(b)(2), the Administrator shall provide 
notice to owners or operators of agricultural land in the area to be 
surveilled not more than 10 days, nor fewer than 5 days, prior to the 
commencement of such surveillance.
    (b) Publication Required.--The Administrator shall publish any 
notice required under subsection (a)--
            (1) on the public Web site of the Administrator; and
            (2) in a newspaper of general circulation in the area to be 
        surveilled.
    (c) Contents.--The Administrator shall include in any notice 
required under subsection (a)--
            (1) a specific description of the geographical area to be 
        surveilled; and
            (2) the dates on which such surveillance will occur.
    (d) Scope.--The Administrator may not publish a general or national 
notice to comply with subsection (a).
    (e) Access to Images.--After conducting any aerial surveillance 
under section 2(b)(2), the Administrator shall make available to the 
owners or operators of the agricultural land surveilled any images of 
such land obtained as a result of such surveillance.

SEC. 5. CERTIFICATION OF REASONABLE SUSPICION.

    (a) In General.--In order to conduct aerial surveillance under 
section 2(b)(3), the Administrator shall obtain a certification of 
reasonable suspicion from the United States District Court for the 
District of Columbia in accordance with this section.
    (b) Certification Requirements.--The court may issue to the 
Administrator a certification of reasonable suspicion if--
            (1) the Administrator submits to the court an affidavit 
        setting forth specific and articulable facts that would 
        indicate to a reasonable person that a violation of the Federal 
        Water Pollution Control Act exists in the area to be 
        surveilled; and
            (2) the court finds that the Administrator has shown 
        reasonable suspicion that an owner or operator of agricultural 
        land in the area to be surveilled has violated the Federal 
        Water Pollution Control Act.

SEC. 6. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.

    Nothing in this Act shall be interpreted as expanding the power of 
the Administrator to inspect, monitor, or conduct surveillance of 
agricultural lands pursuant to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act 
(33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) or any other Federal law.

SEC. 7. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Aerial surveillance.--The term ``aerial surveillance'' 
        means any surveillance from the air, including--
                    (A) surveillance conducted from fixed wing 
                aircraft, helicopters, drones, or remote controlled 
                aircraft; or
                    (B) the use of aerial or satellite images, 
                regardless of whether the images are publicly 
                available.
            (2) Administrator.--The term ``Administrator'' means the 
        Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, or in the 
        case of an action taken pursuant to a permit program approved 
        under section 402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act 
        (33 U.S.C. 1342), the head of the State agency administering 
        the program.
            (3) Agricultural land.--The term ``agricultural land'' 
        means land used primarily for agricultural production, 
        including cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved 
        pastureland, rangeland, cropped woodland, marshes, reclaimed 
        land, and land used for agro-forestry or the production of 
        livestock.
            (4) Court.--The term ``court'' means the United States 
        District Court for the District of Columbia.
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