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Union files grievance over library closures

August 28, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 35

EPA should suspend plans to shutter several of its technical libraries until affected agency scientists can negotiate the issue, the American Federation of Government Employees said in a formal grievance filed against EPA on Aug. 16. The union action follows the Aug. 15 release of an EPA plan to close several of its 26 technical libraries. According to the agency's library plan, "EPA has found that its employees and the public are finding the materials they need from EPA's website, and they are requesting more information electronically. In addition, with tighter security at its facilities, the public's physical visits to the EPA libraries have been declining." The strategy calls for shutting several libraries and moving to electronic delivery of materials. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility says the plan will result in tens of thousands of original EPA research documents being stored away in boxes and unavailable. President George W. Bush's budget proposal for fiscal 2007 calls for slashing $2 million, or 80%, of funding for the agency's 26 libraries. Congress, however, has not yet passed appropriations legislation implementing the cuts (C&EN, July 10, page 17). Four unions, including AFGE, as well as organizations working for a more open government, are asking Congress to maintain funding for EPA's libraries.


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