Read the full story at New Security Beat.
In February 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its plans to shutter its online archive—a key resource on the work of the agency that is relied upon by researchers, legislators, policymakers, and citizens for work on everything “from historical research to democratic oversight.” Pulling the plug would instantly have made public access to a vast array of fact sheets, environmental reports, policy changes, and regulatory actions significantly more difficult.
Months of public backlash ensued—including damning public letters from prominent organizations. And just last week, the EPA announced that it would push back the demise of the archive until July 2023.
News of this welcome reprieve for the EPA digital archive raises a significant question: Why continue with plans to shut it down at all? Postponement does not resolve the eventual damage to government transparency and historical record keeping that the archive’s demise will create. And the concerns of organizations opposed to closure will not be satisfied by an additional year of operation.
Is there a case to be made that this vital resource’s reprieve should be a permanent one?