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It's Time to Plow the Rain Forest Under

Eileen M. Robb

Des Moines Register

November 23, 2005

[Note: This material is copyright by the Des Moines Register, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Des Moines Register.]

The Nov. 11 editorial, "Rain Forest Needed a Deadline," is the latest in a long string of editorials that misses the point about why this project has not captured significant public, or private, support. This project has not needed a deadline. It has always needed a full shot of common sense and accountability.

Citing the success of the Eden Project, as if that project bears some relation to this one, deepens skepticism among those of us who know that the Eden Project succeeded because of two unique features. One, it took advantage of a microclimate in the "British Riviera," where winter temperatures rarely drop below 56 degrees, in order to extend the types of plants that could be grown.

Two, it is built in a long-standing tourist destination. It bears no similarity to plunking a stand-alone project alongside a freeway in the middle of our windswept plains.

It is this type of disconnected promotion that leads citizens to scratch their heads at the infusion of federal dollars for such a project. To many people the science does not add up, the projected attendance does not add up, therefore the project does not add up.

Let Ted Townsend spend his own money on his own dreams. Otherwise, it warrants more than a deadline give it a place on a dusty shelf.

Eileen M. Robb