The latest Reader’s Digest slams what it calls Senator Chuck Grassley’s “pet project” of an indoor rainforest in an article called “Hog Wild: Stupid Ways States Waste Money.” The publication says the proposal to be located in Coralville is going to cost 50-million federal tax dollars, but Grassley says the Digest failed to mention it’d also be built with 150-million in private funds. Grassley says there are many solid benefits. He says it will create 700 jobs in Iowa. Grassley says the indoor rainforest will also be an educational tool that’ll be both a destination for field trips from schools all over Iowa but a workshop for environmental science students at the University of Iowa. He says it’ll bring many tens of thousands of people to eastern Iowa — not just students. Grassley says it fits into the tourism business that Iowa’s trying to get. He says they expect “a tremendous number of tourists” to visit. While Reader’s Digest says it’s “ridiculous to construct a rainforest in the middle of prairie country,” Grassley says the project is a win-win for Iowa. By using different sources of power, planners hope the complex can not only generate its own power but also be used as an educational tool about renewable energy — including wind, solar, and fuel cells. He says it’s energy self-sustaining and it provides and important demonstration project on energy sustainability.The domed project is an education complex envisioned as three football fields in length and fifteen stories high.
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