July 11, 2006 – Environmental Protection Agency scientists, engineers and other technical specialists are protesting closures of technical research libraries.
- White House Looks to Cut EPA Library Funds (Feb 13, 2006)
President Bush proposed removing about $2 million of support for the agencyâ€™s libraries in his FY 2007 budget. The EPAâ€™s total proposed 2007 budget is $7.3 billion.
Already, and before Congress has consented to the budget cuts, the EPA has begun reducing access to library collections. The facilities are used by staff researchers and outside watchdogs alike to investigate and track a multitude of Agency records.
Sixteen locals from four unions â€“ the American Federation of Federal Employees, the National Treasury Employees Union, the National Association of Government Employees and the Engineers and Scientists of California â€“ representing 10,000 EPA employees have sent a letter to Congress expressing their concern over the closures.
In March, employees at the EPAâ€™s Midwest Regional Library received a memo that the facility was closing "in the near future" because the budget cuts resulted in a removal of 90 percent of the libraryâ€™s funding.
While the EPAâ€™s National Library Network is comprised of 28 libraries around the United States, the unionsâ€™ letter to Congress asserts that library services in nineteen states have already been "significantly reduced."
In the letter to Congress, the signatories contend that the closures will diminish access to public-health and environmental studies and hinder the agencyâ€™s ability to respond to emergencies, effectively enforce pollution controls and conduct long-term research.