GRASSLEY MEASURE REQUIRES IOWA ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECT TO MATCH $50 MILLION FEDERAL APPROPRIATION
Sen. Chuck Grassley has won Senate approval of new legislative language that requires non-federal dollars to be raised before additional federal tax dollars are spent on the Iowa Environmental Project. The Grassley measure also says the non-federal money must be secured within two years or the remainder of the $50 million federal appropriation will be reclaimed.
Grassley said his initiative is aimed at generating additional resources for the Iowa Environmental Project, which is working to construct an educational rain forest in Iowa. In 2003, Grassley secured a $50 million federal appropriation to help pay for part of the project, which has a total estimated cost of $150 to $200 million.
"I want this project to succeed because it's a big opportunity for Iowans from start to finish. It was originally designed to clean up an old 30-acre Brownfield land site. Its construction will create jobs. When finished, it will be a tourist destination and a leading environmental education center," Grassley said. "However, the project will never become a reality if the majority of the funding isn't raised from private benefactors and other sources. Until the project can demonstrate its ability to raise that money, I can't let federal tax dollars be frittered away."
The new Grassley language which will be part of the annual appropriation for energy and water projects for fiscal year 2006 says of the $50 million appropriation that it: "is provided for the Iowa Environmental and Education project to be located in Iowa. No further funds may be disbursed by the Department of Energy until a one hundred percent non-Federal cash and in-kind match of the appropriated Federal funds has been secured for the project by the non-Federal project sponsor: Provided, That the match shall exclude land donations: Provided further, That if the match is not secured by the non-Federal project sponsor by December 1, 2007, the remaining Federal funds shall cease to be available for the Iowa Environmental and Education project."
Other energy-related projects in this year's appropriation bill are also required to match the federal dollars provided.
The $50 million for the Iowa Environmental Project was released by the U.S. Department of Energy for the rain forest project in September 2004. The project is required to file quarterly reports with the department detailing its expenditures. Grassley's 2005 language will prevent the Energy Department from approving all additional expenditures until matching money totaling $50 million has been raised from non-federal sources.
The most recent records available from the Iowa Environmental Project indicate that approximately $2.9 million of the $50 million federal appropriation has been spent.