Senator Charles Grassley is defending his support of a 50 million dollar federal grant for construction of an indoor rainforest in Coralville. During a joint appearance on Iowa Public Television, Grassley’s opponent, democrat Art Small, ridiculed the project. Small says “Citizens Against Government Waste” gave Grassley its top porkbarrell award for pushing the project. Small says it’s hard to conceive of a more energy-consuming project than an indoor tropic rainforest in a state like Iowa in which winter temperatures dip way below zero. Small says Grassley has great power in his position as chairman of the Senate’s tax-writing committee, but Small says Grassley hasn’t used that power appropriately. Grassley says the project’s worthy of support. “It’s all about kids,” Grassley says. “Iowa’s traditionally stood for the three R’s — reading, writing and arithmetic. This project is an example of standing for the three E’s — education, economic development (and) the environment.” Grassley says the rainforest project will generate a billion dollars of economic activity in Iowa and will be built on contaminated ground that would cost millions to clean up anyway. And Grassley defends the way he weilds his power in Washington. Grassley says as chair of the Senate Finance Committee, his job is to enhance the quality of life of Iowans and Americans with tax reductions that he says have stimulated the economy and created jobs. The candidates’ full half-hour-long conversation will be rebroadcast at noon on Sunday on Iowa Public Television.