Editorial: Planet Yampa — Pipedream or progress?

Craig Editorial Board, Jan. to March 2012

  • Al Cashion, community representative
  • Jeff Pleasant, community representative
  • Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
  • Bridget Manley, newspaper representative
  • Chris Nichols, community representative
  • Josh Roberts, newspaper representative

Our View

The Planet Yampa development has gained attention. A feasibility study, now backed by the federal government, will be the final verdict.

The numbers behind a project attempting to gain foothold in Moffat County are both considerable and attractive.

Former Moffat County Tourism Association Director Marilynn Hill’s attempt at developing a large-scale hydroponic greenhouse complex has been publicized with the following figures: 12 greenhouses each equal to the size of 32 football fields; potentially eight years to complete; $50,000 in support via a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant; 600 jobs; and a $200 million price tag.

We’re eager to learn whether those numbers are realistic or not.

The Editorial Board discussed Hill’s project at its Tuesday meeting. While all the numbers require attention, it’s the last three the board discussed most.

Who wouldn’t like a $200 million development in our backyard with 600 new jobs?

That goes a long way toward improving our economic future.

In real life there’s a fine line between what is and might be, and though the project may seem like difficult, it can’t be dismissed.

The USDA recently OK’d Hill and her partners for the $50,000 allocation, which will fund a feasibility study.

That sort of financial backing might suggest Hill is onto something; that perhaps Planet Yampa isn’t located in a galaxy far from our own.

The USDA support could also be suggestive of a government spending wildly and a political climate that favors anything green.

The jury is out and it’s not coming back until the study wraps.

The Editorial Board commends Hill for pursuing a project that could be valuable to our community’s future, thus supplying the economic diversity Moffat County has long needed.

The board would certainly encourage our local governments and public entities to support the project, but that support should not include local tax dollars.

If Planet Yampa is to succeed, it has to prove it can walk on its own without subsidies. The USDA grant is a good sign, and we’re optimistic for Hill and company.

The study will tell us what we need to know, and let’s all hope the money is well spent.

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Comments

Terrie Barrie 2 years, 9 months ago

It's rare that I comment on articles or opinion pieces, but I'm confused about the Editorial Board's concerns about this project.

Apparently, it is not the project itself, since you agree that it can provide 600 new jobs. And as a gardener, I would love to purchase vegetables and fruits grown in Moffat County that I cannot grow. Heck, once it is up and running, I may even apply for a job!

Is it the fact that the US Department of Agriculture is involved and you fear that this agency would be subsidizing this project ad infinitum?

The editorial states, "The USDA support could also be suggestive of a government spending wildly and a political climate that favors anything green."

How would that differ from the agency subsidizing other agricultural ventures, such as farming and ranching interests. Am I correct that these businesses do receive monies from the US government to support the bad times? How can you suggest that this grant is 'government spending wildly'?

Why are you concerned about the tax monies invested in Planet Yampa? Our local tax dollars should be invested in our community and businesses. If a major national company expressed interest in developing a facility in Moffat County that could employ 600 workers, would not the City of Craig and Moffat County do everything possible to make that happen, including offering tax breaks? Maybe not, but it is certainly within their purview to do so.

I think this is a very worthwhile venture to explore. And I am very happy the US Department of Agriculture realized that this idea is worth using our tax dollars for further development.

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cag81625 2 years, 9 months ago

Nearly all agricultural ventures in this country require some level of subsidy. I would agree with tbarrie that any USDA support would be taxpayer money well spent. Plenty of federal ag subsidy dollars already flow into Moffat County-$568,000 in 2010 alone.

http://farm.ewg.org/top_recips.php?fips=08081&progcode=totalfarm&yr=2010&regionname=MoffatCounty,Colorado

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