Precisely because knowledge is power. As many scientists, citizen activists, journalists, local officials, and others know, the EPA libraries are treasure troves of organized, detailed information about specific polluters -- what they are doing, where they're doing it, and to whom. Corporations don't like it when We the People have knowledge that can be used to halt their polluting ways -- so their Bushite buddies are obligingly shutting the doors to such knowledge.
Already, they've closed libraries in Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, and Washington, as well as EPA's principal library for evaluating new chemicals. In the agency's five remaining libraries, hours have been severely shortened and public access has been curtailed. More cuts are coming next year. "This is a slow-motion lobotomy of the agency," says the director of PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
Oh, tut-tut, says the EPA brass. We're merely saving taxpayers money, plus we'll increase access by putting this pollution data on-line.
Tut-tut right back at you, say critics, noting that the supposed "savings" are only $2 million out of EPA's total budget of $7.6 billion. They also point out that the agency has nowhere near the funds needed to put so much information online, much less to make it easily accessible to scientists and the public.
This is a crude, political attempt to suppress public information about the corporate contamination of our water and air. To help reopen the doors to public knowledge, call PEER at (202) 265-7337.
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& & For more nuggets of wisdom from America's No. 1 populist, check out & lt;a href="http://www.jimhightower.com" & his website & lt;/a & & & .