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Better Reasons Needed to Justify Rain Forest Project

Lee Rempe

The Gazette

April 27, 2005

    I have been concerned about The Environmental Project since I first read about it. The April 20 headline, ‘‘Rain forest to seek $20 million from state,’’ prompts me to write. I would like to have answers to some questions. How will this benefit communities outside the area? At a time when school districts cannot afford field trips, isn’t the billing as an educational opportunity sort of a stretch? And might the $20 million be better spent to help some of the surrounding communities meet street and payroll needs?

    I lost some respect for Sen. Chuck Grassley when he managed to porkroll money into this project. He has been such a moderating force in congressional spending over the years that I was shocked at his action. There must be something missing in explanations that have been advanced to justify the project.

    The brief summary of the project that accompanied the article did little to fill in specific information.

    Nancy Quellhorst, as quoted in the article, said, ‘‘Our project is really what the Vision Fund is about.’’ That seems to be a non-statement and is the sort of justification I have seen presented so far.

    I suspect a small group of people will profit greatly, while the rest of us will quietly support the project through a continued drain on our tax money.

    I want to support projects that are good for our state, especially if they reach into the many smaller communities that make living in Iowa a great opportunity. Does The Environmental Project help the state as a whole?

    Lee Rempe