Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Ranchers' Finances Private.(New Mexico)

Byline: Tania Soussan Journal Staff Writer

* Environmental group loses fight for details on grazing permits used as collateral for bank loans

Personal financial information about ranchers who have used their U.S. Forest Service grazing permits as collateral for bank loans should not be made public, a federal judge has ruled.

That information is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act, U.S. District Judge Edwin Mechem said earlier this month. His ruling came as a blow to the environmental group Forest Guardians, which sued the Forest Service for the information.

Mechem said the public interest in disclosing the information "fails to outweigh the harm and unwarranted intrusion to individuals and individual privacy interests. …

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