Congress Orders EPA to Restore Library System

In the recently enacted Fiscal Year 2008 omnibus appropriations bill, Congress ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore the network of EPA libraries that had been closed or consolidated by the Administration since 2006. Congress included $3,000,000 in funding for EPA to reopen the libraries. EPA was also directed to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations by late-March regarding actions it will take to “restore publicly available libraries to provide environmental information and data to each EPA region.”

In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began to close its nationwide network of scientific libraries, without prior notice to its employees, Congress or the public. The agency was not only closing the facilities, but also had begun destroying documents or shipping them to repositories where they were un-cataloged and inaccessible to EPA employees, scientists, and the general public.

In early 2007, EPA placed a moratorium on additional library closings in response to congressional pressure.