Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) announced that Federal Labor Relations Board Arbitrator George Edward Larney ruled that the EPA acted in bad faith when it abruptly ordered to close seven of its ten regional libraries during the past two years.
The arbitrator did not order EPA to re-open the closed libraries, because Congress already ordered them to restore the libraries in pg. 35 of a statement attached to FY 2008 budget (H.R. 2764) passed on December 26th, 2007.
Later this month, the EPA is supposed to report to Congress as to how and when it will reopen the libraries with the $3 million that was allocated for them to do so. Hopefully, the EPA will pay heed to the public’s input (including the library and depository community) in regards to planning the restoration of these libraries.
PEER Associate Director Carol Goldberg echoes this sentiment, stating that “EPA employees are not the only ones negatively affected by library closures; the public now has a much harder time learning about toxic sites in their neighborhoods, the effects of new chemicals or even their local ecological history…while this ruling is a welcome development, EPA should not continue to shut the public – which is paying all the bills – out of the planning for restoration of these invaluable assets.”
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