Senior House of Representatives members Bart Gordon (D-TN), Henry Waxman (D-CA) and John Dingell (D-MI) have requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigate an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan to close agency libraries and to digitize the library information system, including the cost and amount of time to complete the project. The lawmakers are concerned that library closures may not actually save the agency any money, at the same time making it more difficult for EPA employees and the public to access information. The GAO has granted the request to investigate the library closures, and is set to begin the review in sixty to ninety days, according to GAO spokesman Paul Anderson.
In other news, the EPA has also decided to reduce online journal and database access for its employees. According to a report by PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility), emails from agency leadership have stated that reductions in journal access will vary within each region, depending on budget shortfalls. According to one email, "Region 3 [mid-Atlantic Region] needs to cut its journal renewals about in half and the journals in question are very expensive." Technical journals, as well as environmental news reports, such as Greenwire, will be targeted in the budget cuts. According to PEER, Greenwire received more than 125,000 hits from EPA employees last year. "EPA is entering its own Dark Age, where both the inward and outward flows of information are being strained through an ever-narrowing sieve," states PEER executive director Jeff Ruch.
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