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Food and Drug Administration to Close Seven of Its 13 Labs
Over congressional objections, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, is closing seven of its 13 laboratories across the country, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, PEER, a national association of employees in natural resources agencies.
The closures will be completed during the next few months, before the new Congress can act to block the shutdowns through the appropriations bill for the next fiscal year, PEER said.
These laboratories are often the first line of defense in detecting and combating potential bio-terrorist attacks on foods.
In addition, they trace tampering with food and medicines and respond to public health threats, such as E. coli and listeria outbreaks, and support agency compliance inspections and enforcement actions.
Why are EPA Libraries Closing?
In February 2006, when President Bush unveiled his budget proposal for FY 2007, the EPA Library Network learned that its annual disbursement would be slashed 80 percent from 2006 funding levels—from $2.5 million to just $500,000. A month later, administrators at the EPA’s Region 5 facility in Chicago circulated an e-mail announcing it would be the first to close. By October, two other regional libraries were gone. Together, the three facilities had served the entire middle United States.
Since last year, the EPA has drifted from its initial assertion that the move is purely budgetary to embrace the closings as a technological achievement. “EPA’s library modernization is providing better access to a broader audience,” says EPA spokesperson Jessica Emond. “When libraries go digital, everyone benefits.”
Not everyone sees it that way. Opponents of the plan have presented a laundry list of concerns ranging from questions about the EPA’s motive to critiques of its method. Foremost among the critics are employees of the agency itself.
Cheney son-in-law used revolving door to stop chemical security regulations
The son-in-law of Vice President Dick Cheney, Philip Perry, has entered and exited the Bush administration twice, and in the process helped shield the chemical industry from upgraded security measures in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, according to an article in the March edition of the Washington Monthly.
Philip Perry is married to Cheney's daughter Elizabeth, also a former executive branch official. An article by Art Levine in the upcoming Washington Monthly details his work in and out of the Bush administration since 2000, saying, "A flippant critic might say the father-in-law has been prosecuting a war that creates more terrorists abroad, while the son-in-law has been working to ensure they’ll have easy targets at home."