July 01, 2006

Representatives for 10,000 EPA Scientists Fighting Bush's Attempt to Close Research Libraries

A letter on behalf of 10,000 EPA scientists asked Congress today to stop the Bush Administration from closing the agency's network of technical research libraries. Jeff Ruch, Executive Director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, told BuzzFlash that the libraries "house documents of work conducted by the EPA or related to EPA projects or efforts" and are vital for the EPA as well as research universities and other organizations. "Public access will completely lost."

Ruch said that the closures will prevent the use of nearly "everything created before 1990 (which) is not digitized, including 50,000 unique documents." The EPA has already begun shutting the facilities down even though Congress has yet to approve the President's budget.

Ruch was especially troubled by Bush's decision to cut most of the $2.5 million library budget out of the total EPA funding of $8 billion because a study has shown the libraries save staff 214,000 hours each year, worth about $7.5 million. "It will be harder to find the information and in some cases (researchers) will have to do without," according to Ruch.

The letter cites library closures as “one more example of the Bush administration’s effort to suppress information on environmental and public health-related topics.”

"This is a serious matter that ultimately affects the very issues citizens care about daily," Rep. Bart Godron (D-TN), Ranking Member of the Science Committee, told BuzzFlash. "Closing off access to data and valuable research is not only a slap in the face to EPA scientists; it could very well endanger lives."

Gordon also said Democrats on his committee have been following the issue and applauded the EPA workers for making their voices heard.


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