Jul 10 2003


Appropriations Committee Approves Interior Funding

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby today announced the approval of several funding requests for Alabama:

Alabama National Forest, $1 million - This funding will assist in purchase of land, from willing sellers only, within the boundaries of Alabama’s National Forests. The National Forests in Alabama represent the largest area of publicly owned land in Alabama, covering approximately 665,661 acres.

Senator Shelby said, "This year's funding will aid in the continued protection and preservation of our wildlife and natural resources in this area."

Pinhoti Trail Construction, $1 million - The funding is for the purchase of the last piece of land in Alabama and Georgia that will allow completion of the Pinhoti Trail.

Senator Shelby said, "Our ultimate goal is to link the Pinhoti Trail to the Florida Trail at the Florida-Alabama state line in the Conecuh National Forest. Such a link would make the Pinhoti part of a trail system stretching from the Everglades in the southern end of Florida to Maine and Cape Gaspe in the Quebec Province of Canada."

Mobile Tensaw Delta, $3.3 million - This bill provides $3.3 million for acquisition of a proposed total of 10,000 acres of pristine forest lands in Mobile Tensaw River Delta. This will complement 54,000 acres that have already been secured in the area.

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will assist in the efforts of federal, state and local entities to conserve and manage this unique ecosystem.”

Alabama Rural Economic Action Program for Underserved Distressed Counties, $500,000 - This funding will assist the forest industry in underserved communities and distressed counties to create and retain jobs to stimulate economic development in the State of Alabama.

Senator Shelby said, “The forest industry in Alabama is suffering from difficult times with the loss of more than 4,000 jobs due to plant closures, layoffs, and downsizing. Users of the program will receive direct practical assistance to create and retain jobs, expand the use of productive technologies, reach new markets, and improve the utilization of forest resources.”