Clean Water is Basic "Iowa Environmental Project"

Cindy Hildebrand

June 6, 2005

[Note: This email in response to Nicholas Johnson, Unfocused and Unfunded, Rain Forest Inspires Mostly Questions," Des Moines Register [Letters], June 5, 2005, was received June 6 and reproduced here with the permission of the author.]


Thank you for your excellent letter in the REGISTER on 6/5/05 regarding the Whatever-It's-Called-This-Month Project.  I have been following the CHILD saga since the project was first proposed for Des Moines years ago, and heaved a huge sigh of relief when Ted passed Story County by.

I sympathize with the worried citizens of Johnson County, and submitted (polite) testimony years ago, asking financial questions and expressing concern.  I also called Senator Grassley's office with more (polite) concern when $50 million in federal tax money was first proposed for what was obviously a nebulous proposition.  It was clear from talking to his staffer, however, that concern regarding CHILD was futile.

I also communicated (politely) with David Oman, and received the usual friendly fog of assurances.  I am impressed that you have maintained such public politesse over the years in regard to this project.  I no longer feel very polite about it.

Especially since, with the oft-promised major donors nowhere in sight, I understand that project leaders are once again planning to turn to state taxpayers within a year or two, even though Iowa is so strapped that only a paltry $5 million is available to try to clean our filthy water.  Seems to me that clean water is a fairly basic "Iowa environmental project."

Thanks in particular for your continuing efforts to bring financial analysis of this Protean proposal back to a more rational plane.   What I'm wondering now is whether there is any possibility of attempts at more federal funding.  I find it hard to believe that further federal funding would even be considered, after all the national bad publicity.  But then I still can't believe that this mysterious and chameleonic endeavor got fifty million in the first place.

Best wishes --

Cindy Hildebrand