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Sierra Daily

Sep 23, 2011

Green Interns Make Rep. Pompeo See Red

Students might want to think twice before applying for an internship — you never know who might pass a law to fire you. As if interns aren't under enough pressure these days, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) can't believe taxpayers fund five full-time grad students for a 20-week-long internship at the EPA. The students, known as "Environmental Justice Eco-Ambassadors," make — hold your breath — $300 per week.

Clearly a deep affront for the congressman (who happens to cost taxpayers $174,000 per year), Pompeo took the house floor Thursday to propose the EPA Student Nondiscrimination Act, which would cut the EPA Student Diversity Internship Program. The internship supports grassroots community programs that help solve environmental-justice issues.

Pompeo is known for being the politico-spawn of polluters Charles and David Koch, who own a billion-dollar energy conglomerate. The brothers' wealth exceeds that of 48 countries' GDP — and their company is Pompeo's number-one campaign contributor.

As if to confirm his worst nightmare, the incredulous congressman said, "I'd heard of ambassadors, and I'm familiar with the environment, but I had never heard of an eco-ambassador."

Until the big, bad EPA alerted him, that is. In his words, the EPA "has done so much damage to our economy, so much damage to Kansas's 4th congressional district, and our farmers, and our manufacturers, and and our families."

Caught in a political tug-of-war, the EPA is actually under fire from liberals for not having sufficiently healed the problems of environmental injustice; the internship is one way the agency does address that concern.

Ironically, Pompeo bashed the EPA on the same day it came up with a $150,000 environmental-education grant for Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas. That's right, Kansas. The same state the agency is allegedly pilfering.

Pompeo did acknowledge that in the grand scheme of things, $6,000 isn't a lot of money but seems to think it's the principle that's offensive. Requirements for the internship favor liberals, Pompeo argues, because qualified applicants must be strongly interested in environmental  and social justice.

Pompeo, by the way, is the same congressman whose office tweeted a link to a racist blog that calls Obama an "evil Muslim communist." Apparently, a staff member "inadvertently" posted the link.

Looks like Pompeo could use a few interns of his own.

--Avni Nijhawan

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