Friday, December 01, 2006

House Democrats Attempt to Stop EPA Library Closures

WASHINGTON, DC, November 30, 2006 (ENS) - Democratic House leaders today called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to immediately stop efforts to close libraries across the country pending a review by Congress.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, Ranking Members Congressmen Bart Gordon of Tennessee, John Dingell of Michigan, Henry Waxman of California, and James Oberstar of Minnesota expressed their concerns over the current implementation of "library reorganization" plans and the "destruction or disposition" of library holdings.

"It is imperative that the valuable government information maintained by EPA's libraries be preserved," wrote the ranking members.

This letter to the administrator follows a successful effort earlier this fall by the Congressmen to initiate a Government Accountability Office, GAO, investigation of current EPA actions regarding their libraries and informational resources. The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, has begun its review. The Congressmen write in their letter to the administrator that the EPA is closing libraries and dispersing resources in accordance with an administration budget directive that has neither been approved nor formally enacted by Congress.

Implementation of the library reorganization is proceeding at a rapid pace. Reports of the library closures, information destruction, and property auctions continue to surface despite the objections to the plan raised by EPA professional staff, EPA employee union representatives and the American Library Association. The four Congressmen say they want to ensure that EPA actions do not undermine the integrity and value of the public information available at these libraries.

Background/More Info in the Christian Science Monitor

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