ALA supports congressional effort to investigate closure of EPA libraries

Contact: Bernadette Murphy

ALA Washington Office

(202) 628-8410
For Immediate Release:

September 22, 2006

ALA supports congressional effort to investigate closure of EPA libraries

(WASHINGTON) The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it has begun closing its libraries in response to the Bush Administration’s planned $2 million cuts to the agency’s 2007 federal budget. As of October 1, 2006, the EPA Headquarters library will be closed to the public. The American Library Association (ALA) disagrees with the EPA’s claims that closing the libraries—which field more than 134,000 requests a year from the agency’s own staff in addition to requests from the public—will not impede the agency’s mission to provide environmental information to its staff and the public.

ALA supports Ranking Democratic members of the House Science Committee in their effort to have the General Accounting Office (GAO) investigate the EPA’s plans to shutter the libraries. Representatives Bart Gordon (D-TN), John Dingell (D-MI) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) made the request for an investigation in a letter to GAO on Monday, September 18

“Closure of the EPA libraries will make it extremely difficult—and in some cases impossible—for constituents and even EPA staff to find reliable information on a wide range of sensitive environmental issues,” said Leslie Burger, President of the American Library Association. “The EPA libraries are essential government services, and they house an estimated 50,000 documents on environmental issues that are available nowhere else,” she continued. The American Library Association has taken a position against closure of the EPA libraries urging its members to write to members of Congress and the Bush Administration.