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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-29-06 05:23 PM
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Bush Budget Will Close EPA Scientific Libraries, Block Public Access
The Bush Administration's decision to reduce EPA funding and eliminate several scientific research libraries has been challenged by Democratic House Ranking Members Bart Gordon, John Dingell, and Henry Waxman in a letter to the GAO. "We have grave concerns of this plan on the EPA's ability to protect the environment, and we question whether the plan will actually save the government money," they wrote.

President Bush's proposed 2007 budget slashed 80% of the funding for the library network, which contains 50,000 unique documents not found elsewhere along with vast resources relied upon by agency staff, scientists in academia and industry, and the general public. The EPA has already begun preemptively closing facilities despite the fact that Congress has yet to actually approve the president's budget. By September 30, 15 states will have lost their libraries, and other states will begin losing hours and services.

The closures have already sparked outrage by scientists and environmentalists. Last June, BuzzFlash reported on a complaint filed on behalf of 10,000 EPA scientists over the cuts. In August the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance issued a position paper suggesting the plan is seriously flawed and will undermine the ability of scientists to do their jobs of protecting the public and the environment.

Bizarrely, Bush is trying to close the libraries despite the fact that the network actually saves far more money in improved efficiency than it costs to maintain. While Bush wants to gut nearly all of the $2.5 million budget, estimates indicate that the libraries save staff about 214,000 hours each year, worth about $7.5 million.

EDIT

http://www.buzzflash.com/articles/alerts/116

Pending EPA Library Closures Spark Protest and Controversy


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to move forward with plans to shut down agency libraries despite protests from EPA scientists and enforcement staff. According to a leaked EPA FY 2007 Library Plan, regional libraries in Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City as well as its Headquarters library in Washington, will be closed by Sept. 30 and as many as 80,000 documents not electronically available will be boxed for digitizing.


The plan, obtained by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), indicates that EPA is prematurely implementing President Bush's proposed budget cut of 80 percent for the agency's library system. Though the House of Representatives has passed the budget cut in its version of the Interior-EPA spending bill, the Senate has yet to take up the proposal. EPA's funding will likely be part of a continuing resolution to keep the many federal agencies whose appropriations bills have yet to be approved functioning after the fiscal year ends on Oct. 1.

An internal memo from EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance (OECA) also released by PEER, detailed how the library closures will dilute the agency's enforcement efforts. According to the memo, "If OECA is involved in a civil or criminal litigation and the judge asks for documentation, we can currently rely upon a library to locate the information and have it produced to a court in a timely manner. Under the cuts called for in the plan, timeliness for such services is not addressed."

EPA's Assistant Administrator Marcus Peacock addressed criticisms of the planned closures in an Aug. 22 Letter to the Editor of YubaNet.com. Peacock writes that "EPA is providing comprehensive access to agency documents and materials through EPA's public Web site." Peacock also claims "etrieving materials will not only be more efficient but also is easier to locate by using the agency's online collection and reference services."

An EPA employee responded to Peacock, anonymously out of fear of agency retaliation presumably, with an Aug. 29 Op-Ed also at YubaNet.com. The employee stated that, while Peacock claims documents will be available via the agency's website, "what he does not say ... and what has repeatedly been raised by EPA scientists across the country ... is that there is no line item in EPA's budget to pay for the digitization of all of these reports." According to the anonymous EPA employee, agency scientists continue to be frustrated because EPA leadership refuses to answer the basic questions of how much digitizing the library collection will cost, how long it will take, and whether the FY 2007 budget will fund the digitization.

One thing is clear: with the closure of EPA libraries comes less access to important health and safety data -- available nowhere else -- to the detriment of the public and the public servants who work to hold industry accountable to environmental law and regulation.

EDIT/END

Note to Mods: Press release, here given in its entirety.

http://www.ombwatch.org/article/articleview/3599/1/1?To...
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-29-06 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
1. He's got his grubby lil paws everywhere, doesn't he. nt
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mhatrw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-29-06 11:48 PM
Response to Original message
2. The War on Science. n/t
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mom cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 08:47 AM
Response to Original message
3. Bush wants to destroy everything and everyone who contradicts
his imperialist/corprortist policies and the congress just gave him the tools to silence his opposition.
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