Central Platte is a political subdivision of the State of Nebraska which is responsible for administering various programs related to the state's natural resources. A Nebraska statute authorizes Central Platte to cooperate with agencies, such as the USDA, to carry out projects for the benefit of the district. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 2-3235. To that end Central Platte has entered into several agreements with USDA agencies. For example, Central Platte cooperates with the USDA in its Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program which seeks to restore wildlife habitat and protect environmentally sensitive land.
Under a cooperative agreement with a USDA agency, Central Platte was specifically obligated to provide the agency with a specialist to help it develop a Geographic Information System (GIS). GIS is a computer system that assembles, stores, manipulates, and displays geospatial information. GIS data may be used to produce flood maps, conduct the census, and respond to natural hazards. The USDA informally shared the GIS data with Central Platte for a period of time, but stopped in 2005 because the data identifies individual farm owners, operators, borrowers, and other agricultural producers.
In July 2008, Central Platte requested that the USDA release GIS data related to farmland in eleven Nebraska counties. It brought its request under the federal Privacy Act, which requires agencies to withhold private information about individuals unless the data falls within a published "routine use." 5 U.S.C. § 552a. The USDA can disclose the requested GIS data pursuant to twenty five published routine uses. Revision to the Privacy Act System of Records Notice, 72 Fed. Reg. 70559, 70563 (Dec. 12, 2007). Central Platte specifically cited two of the USDA's routine use exceptions in support of its request. In August 2008, before the USDA had responded to the Privacy Act request, Central Platte submitted a FOIA request for the same data.
Judge(s): Diana Murphy
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
Related Categories: Administrative Law , Communications , Government / Politics
|Circuit Court Judge(s)|
|Trial Court Judge(s)|
|Appellant Lawyer(s)||Appellant Law Firm(s)|
|Donald Blankenau||Blankenau Wilmoth LLP|
|Thomas Wilmoth||Blankenau Wilmoth LLP|
|Appellee Lawyer(s)||Appellee Law Firm(s)|
|Deborah Gilg||United States Department of Justice|
|Robert Homan||United States Department of Justice|
|John Koppel||United States Department of Justice|
|Leonard Schaitman||United States Department of Justice|
|Tony West||United States Department of Justice|