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Closing the EPA libraries, or modernizing them? December 4, 2006

Posted by publicpolitics in Environmental Policy, Libraries.

WASHINGTON — As the Environmental Protection Agency closes some scientific libraries around the country, EPA scientists and other environmental advocates worry that it might be harder for the public to find out about pollutants spilling into local rivers and streams.

The Boston Globe

With Democrats set to attempt revisions of major environmental policies, the Environmental Protection Agency has decided that now would be a good time to modernize some of its libraries- by closing them. The EPA has closed branches of its regional libraries in Dallas, Chicago, and Kansas City, Mo., but claims that the move will save the agency money, and that scientists and citizens will be able to access the information during the interim on the agency’s web site and through interlibrary loans. Francesca Gifo, director of scientific integrity at the Union of Concerned Scientists, says .. we don’t see the digitization. We just see the libraries closing.”

Other regional branches will remain open, although some will operate with reduced hours. It is especially difficult to understand the rationale of this latter move, since no modernization impetus explains it adequately. A cutback is a cutback, and EPA has either chosen a particularly inappropriate moment, or mild obstruction during a period of critical policy debate is on the agenda. Let us hope that this is just political clumsiness, rather than something more sinister.

Tags: irks | worry | Spilling | SCIENTISTS | SCIENTIFIC | Rivers | POLLUTANTS | libraries | harder | digitized | Closes | backers | advocates | Washington | protection | EPA | environmental | agency



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