UPDATED: Bush's 2007 budget cuts target EPA libraries

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 2:30 March 9, 2006, with additional information from the EPA.

President Bush’s 2007 budget would end funding for an Environmental Protection Agency electronic catalog that lists tens of thousands of documents not available outside the EPA's library network.

According to internal agency documents released this month by the advocacy group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the president’s plan to cut $2 million from the library program’s $2.5 budget would eliminate the database that makes it possible to search through the EPA's libraries.

EPA officials later informed Federal Computer Week that the fiscal 2007 budget would still fund public and interagency access to the EPA electronic catalog.

Although the proposed cuts to the library program are severe, the budget requests a significant increase in EPA research funds for nanotechnology, air pollution and drinking water system security, which are part of the president's innovation agenda. In his recent State of the Union address, Bush announced a three-part program called the American Competitiveness Initiative that focuses on research and development, education and workforce and immigration policies.

The libraries' primary users are EPA’s own scientists and enforcement employees.

“How are EPA scientists supposed to engage in cutting-edge research when they cannot find what the agency has already done?” asked Jeff Ruch, executive director of PEER. “The president’s plan will not make us more competitive if we have to spend half our time reinventing the wheel.”

EPA operates a network of 27 libraries from its Washington, D.C., headquarters and 10 regional offices nationwide. The proposed cuts would force the headquarters library and most of the regional libraries to shut their doors, PEER officials said.

Each year, the EPA libraries catalog about 50,000 documents that are exclusive to the EPA library network. The library system allows public access to EPA databases.

The American Library Association this week expressed its concern about the proposed 80 percent drop in funding for EPA's libraries.

ALA president Michael Gorman issued a statement saying that ALA has a long-standing commitment to promoting free public access to government information. "We are troubled by what seems to be an accelerating trend in increased restrictions on access to government information.”

Featured

  • Defense
    The Pentagon (Photo by Ivan Cholakov / Shutterstock)

    DOD CIO hits pause on JEDI cloud acquisition

    Dana Deasy set cloud as his office's top priority. But when it comes to the JEDI request for proposal, he's directed staff to "pause" to compile a comprehensive review.

  • Cybersecurity
    By Gorodenkoff shutterstock ID 761940757

    Waging cyber war without a rulebook

    As the U.S. looks to go on the offense in the cyber domain, critical questions remain unanswered around who will take the lead and how clearly to draw the rules of engagement.

  • Government Innovation Awards
    Government Innovation Awards - https://governmentinnovationawards.com

    Deadline extended for Rising Star nominations

    You now have until July 18 to help us identify the early-career innovators and change agents in government IT.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.