’64 percent of EPA fellowships awarded to the National Academy of Sciences were to foreign nationals…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been on a severe course correction since President Donald Trump took office in Jan. 2017, with many employees opting to quit rather than serve the administration.
For those who remain, a new inspector general’s report isn’t likely to win them any favors — from the government’s chief executive, or anyone else.
According to the EPA’s own internal IG, the federal bureaucracy’s most liberal agency has paid foreign researchers for work qualified Americans could have easily done.
The cost to U.S. taxpayers: $14.5 million.
“We found that 64 percent of EPA fellowships awarded to the National Academy of Sciences were to foreign nationals,” the newly released IG report says.
The paid fellowship program is designed to entice college students to pursue advanced degrees in environmental sciences, the report said.
Among other things, the fellowships increase the “potential future employment of the fellow.”
But over an 11-year period, 107 of 166 research fellowships went to foreign nationals or “persons who were not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.”
Federal law requires agencies like the EPA to award taxpayer funded fellowships to U.S. citizens or permanent residents, but by issuing them through a “cooperative agreement” EPA officials were able to side-step that requirement.
“EPA was not following the best practices pertaining to citizenship requirements established for fellowships awarded directly by the EPA,” the report said.
In response, agency officials said they weren’t aware that the they could specify citizenship requirements for federal funds awarded through cooperative agreements — although the IG found that the agency did just that for two other such agreements.
In a prime example of government-speak, the report concluded that “taxpayer dollars will be put to better use” if next time the agency pays U.S. citizens with U.S. taxpayer dollars.