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Salazar adds greenhouse project to appropriations list

The Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership scored a coup this past week when the project was included in Rep. John Salazar’s appropriations list for the 2011 federal budget.

According to GGP board member Michael Whiting, the appropriations request, amounting to $1.097 million, is on a preliminary list that will be refined in early summer of this year. “Midyear, this year, we’ll know if it’s headed for budgeting processing,” Whiting said.

However, several questions remain. Even if the GGP appropriation makes it past the initial appropriations cut in early summer, the $1.097 million could be substantially cut during the budgeting process later in the year. Likewise, until the budget is approved by Congress, anything could happen and the entire appropriation could be cut from the 2011 budget.

Nonetheless, Whiting stated that he was excited that the project had made it onto Salazar’s appropriations list and said the GGP is awaiting word from the offices of U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall concerning their support for the project.

Considering that Bennet visited Pagosa Springs last summer to view the Geothermal Greenhouse site and plans, and spoke in support, Whiting expressed some cautious — yet enthusiastic — optimism.

“It looks promising,” he said.

jim@pagosasun.com