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Bush’s budget proposal would close most EPA libraries

The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a national alliance of local, state, and federal resource professionals, released this story based on internal documents from the EPA Library Network Workgroup, which is made up of representatives from the various EPA regions. According to PEER:

Under Bush’s plan, $2 million of a total agency library budget of $2.5 million will be lost, including the entire $500,000 budget for the EPA Headquarters library and its electronic catalog that makes it possible to search for documents through the entire EPA library network. These reductions are just a small portion of the $300 million in cuts the administration has proposed for EPA operations.

EPA currently operates a network of 27 libraries operating out of its Washington, D.C. Headquarters and ten regional offices across the country. The size of the cuts will force the Headquarters library and most of the regional libraries to shut their doors and cease operations. Each year, the EPA libraries –

* Handle more than 134,000 research requests from its own scientific and enforcement staff;
* House and catalog an estimated 50,000 “unique” documents that are available nowhere else; and
* Operate public reading rooms and provide the public with access to EPA databases.

One of the documents linked to from the PEER site, outlines available options for regions that “choose” to close their physical libaries. They can purchase library services from any region libraries that remain open (on what would be left of the scavenged budget); or, they could pass on costs to their customers — themselves. Reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw the other day. “This isn’t a democracy, its an auction.”

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


1 Comment

  1. Fulfilling the prophesy ? Orwell & the Bush Administration

    “…Then, with a movement which was as nearly as possible unconscious,
    he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had
    made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames…”

    “…Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record…”

    “Nineteen eighty-four”, George Orwell (pseudonym of Eric Blair) (1903-1950)
    A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

    The above lines from Orwell’s famous novel resonated much too clearly when I read blog postings regarding the culmination of the Bush’s administration campaign to cripple the EPA libraries through draconian budgetary cuts. In the President’s budget, $2 million of the library network’s budget of $2.5 million will be lost, including the entire $500,000 budget for the EPA Headquarters library and the electronic catalog that makes it possible to search for documents throughout the network.

    Also proposed is a $1.5 million reduction in the regional support budget for EPA’s ten Regions. This budget reduction specifically targets EPA’s Regional libraries. “Beginning in FY 2007, the Regional libraries’ capacity to handle the tens of thousands of core service requests from EPA users could be greatly diminished. Six of the ten Regions have indicated that they might either close their doors, or reduce their staffing, services and hours. “ (EPA Library Network: Challenges for FY 2007 and Beyond Findings and Recommendations of the EPA Library Network Workgroup (PDF), November 22, 2005)

    As this report points out, the work of the EPA libraries is important to providing scientific and technical information to support enforcement case development and preparing scientific documentation to justify EPA’s position on developing new regulations. In the context of an administration that tries to tailor, alter, censor or deny scientific facts and analyses that don’t fit its vision. It is hardly surprising that the EPA libraries and their valuable support function are being starved of funds to do their job. ( See, “NASA Chief Backs Agency Openness”, Andrew C. Revkin , New York Times, February 4, 2006. …“In interviews this week, more than a dozen public-affairs officials, along with half a dozen agency scientists, spoke of growing efforts by political appointees to control the flow of scientific information.” ) (The ALA also documents the administration’s agency initiatives to provide “Less Access to Less Information”)

    This attack on the EPA libraries shows how far the Bush whitehouse and its backers will go to remove information that questions their theocratic & big corporate mission. If they don’t like the message,
    they eliminate the messenger, even if it’s in their own agencies ! We need to challenge this attack and the broader dangerous attitude that it represents. We need to insure that Orwell’s prophesy doesn’t
    come true in our country.

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