Although the EPA has been scanning and digitizing a large portion of its documents into the National Environmental Publications website (though freely accessible to the public, its answer database is faulty and slow to respond), it has been keeping copies of each in its original format and been sending them to one of several storage sites in Cincinnati, North Carolina's Research Triangle Park and Washington, D.C. Whether the public will be able to access these hard copies remains very much in doubt, especially in the wake of a recently circulated internal memo that stated: "Repository libraries are not required to provide public access to their collections…"
"EPA claims that its libraries are designed for the twin purposes of improving the quality of information for agency decision-making as well as raising public environmental awareness, but right now the libraries are not serving either purpose very well," said Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) Associate Director Carol Goldberg. "Significantly, EPA is not even bothering to consult the public who paid for these collections."
Inexplicably, even the EPA's own staff scientists have not been consulted on the recent wave of closures and dissimulations. Though the union representing the scientists filed a grievance with the agency in 2006 protesting the closures as making it more difficult for them to do their work, the EPA simply chose to ignore it.
This is absolutely shameful. The fact that the EPA is acting to conceal these documents as though they were state secrets is both inexplicable and indefensible. Call EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson and give him a piece of your mind.