EPA closure of research libraries was a stupid idea, says GAO
The U.S. EPA decision to deal with a 2006 funding cut by closing several research libraries was not very well thought out, says a new report from the Government Accountability Office. To take just one example: The EPA promised to compensate for the closures by making information available on the internet, but due to copyright issues, only some 10 percent of the library system’s documents are even able to be digitized. Before closing the libraries, the EPA should have consulted agency staff, done a cost-benefit analysis, and appointed a manager of the effort, said the GAO. Its failure to do so, says House Science and Technology Committee Chair Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), means that “EPA library services are impaired, employees will have a harder time doing their jobs, and the public has lost access to government information.” A spending bill passed in December approved $1 million for reopening the closed libraries, which the EPA has yet to do.