In what may be a harbinger of new rigor in Congressional oversight, four Democratic members of Congress told the Environmental Protection Agency to cease and desist (pdf) from closing public document libraries and dispersing or destroying their contents unless and until EPA obtains specific approval from Congress.
Public interest groups including the Union of Concerned Scientists and the American Library Association had expressed alarm over the closure of EPA libraries and the reported destruction of documents. EPA said that it was modernizing and digitizing its collections and that no information has been destroyed.
“We request that you maintain the status quo of the libraries and their materials while this issue is under investigation and review by Congress,” wrote Ranking Members Reps. Bart Gordon (D-TN), John Dingell (D-MI), Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) and James Oberstar (D-MN) in a November 30 letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.
“It is imperative that the valuable government information maintained by EPA’s libraries be preserved,” the Congressmen wrote.