EDGI’s Response to the EPA’s Announcement it Will Retain its Online Archive

Image shows the EPA’s announcement that its web archive will remain live until July 2023


July 22, 2022

Contact: EDGI members are available to answer media questions. Please contact EDGI Communications Coordinator Kelly Wilkins edgi.comms@gmail.com with any inquiries. 

Tuesday July 19, 2022, after recently announcing the planned sunsetting of portions of its online archive, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency updated their Web Archive website with an announcement that the archive in its entirety will remain online until at least July 2023. The EPA stated that they extended the timeline “to assess the use of archive content and to continue to analyze, inventory, and transition key content to our main website.” This comes after EDGI and other environmental groups sent an open letter to the agency, urging them to keep this critical public resource online.

In response, Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) experts released the following statements: 

Gretchen Gehrke, EDGI co-founder, said:

“We’re pleased that the EPA has listened to what we and so many other organizations have been saying: these web documents are important public resources. They are vital to understanding our federal environmental governance, from past policies and practices, to agency perspectives on critical environmental issues. These documents should belong to the public in an easily accessible manner, and we encourage the EPA to invest in improving its online archive rather than simply shuttering it and making hundreds of thousands of resources more challenging or impossible to access.” 

Ellen Griffith Spears, EDGI member and University of Alabama environmental historian, said:

“Let’s hope this year can be used to devise a plan to maintain and expand robust, ongoing public access to these crucial climate change, toxics policy, and other important EPA documents.”

Notes for editors: 

  • EDGI’s website governance team discovered the EPA’s plan to shutter its online archive in March, and Gretchen Gehrke wrote a blog published by the Union of Concerned Scientists sounding the alarm. In June, two open letters were sent to the EPA–one signed by EDGI and other environmental and archivist groups, found here, and another signed by professional historians’ organizations, found here. A collective 28 organizations signed these letters, including EDGI, Sierra Club, Internet Archive, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Environmental Historians Action Collaborative, and the American Society for Environmental History.


About EDGI: The Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) analyzes federal environmental data, websites, institutions, and policy. We seek to improve environmental data stewardship and to promote environmental health and environmental justice.