Washington, D.C. lobby group Consumers for Paper Options seeing progress in its campaign to retain paper usage by US federal agencies, which seek to lower costs by moving mailings to the Internet; group claims studies show most Americans want paper, too

LOS ANGELES , February 19, 2014 () –

In its battle against paper being eliminated for correspondence between Americans and the federal government, Washington, D.C. lobby group Consumers for Paper Options is seeing progress, reported The Washington Post on Feb. 17.

The group’s lobbyists have been trying to convince members of Congress and their staffs that the government’s rush to digitize is not being considered carefully.

Many government agencies are moving to electronic communication and saying “the heck with it,” according to John Runyan, executive director of Consumers for Paper Options, The Washington Post reported.

Rep. Susan Davis of California was pressed by Runyan to add language to the budget bill requiring that the Social Security Administration come up with a plan to resume mailing paper earnings statements. That bill passed last month.

Rep. Sean Duffy from Wisconsin and Rep. Michael Michaud from Maine have introduced a measure calling for government action to ensure people are given “paper-based” information along with electronic.

A hearing on the decree is yet to be scheduled, reported The Washington Post. 

An op-ed piece in December’s Roll Call that was signed by Michaud and Duffy noted that the shift to paperless was “disenfranchising millions of seniors and other vulnerable Americans.” Consumers for Paper Options help write it.

One-quarter of Americans do not have access to the Internet, said Runyan.

A survey last year reportedly showed that 73% of American adults don’t think they should have to communicate with the government online, said Runyan, whose group has conducted several studies of consumer preferences.

Consumers for Paper Options also has funded research that favors its position and campaigns in the media for its cause, which is to fight the move away from printed checks, forms and other paper communications, The Washington Post reported.

The paper industry has a lot at stake. A 7% drop in spending for paper was reported by 22 of the largest federal agencies in the past year, according to General Services Administration data.

While the government alone does not account for a significant share of U.S. paper consumption, a shift in Washington, D.C. could precede wider trends in the private sector, said Runyan, reported The Washington Post.

The primary source of this article is The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., on Feb. 17, 2014. 

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