Sep 14 2004


Senate Appropriations Committee Passes FY 2005 Interior Appropriations Bill

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, today announced the approval of several funding requests for Alabama included in the Fiscal Year 2005 Interior Appropriations Bill. The Interior Appropriations Bill is now headed to the full Senate for consideration.

Alabama National Forest, $750,000 -
This funding will assist in the 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."

Mobile Tensaw Delta, $1.5 million -
This bill provides $1.5 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, $750,000 - 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."

Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge, $550,000 -
The Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge was established in the 106th Congress, and the land that it encompasses is home to 32 animals and plants protected under the Endangered Species Act. These funds will allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to acquire approximately 760 acres within the refuge.

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased that the Committee approved these funds for the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge. This environmentally-diverse, pristine land must be protected for future generations to enjoy.” Cumberland Mountains, $1.4 Million - The Cumberland Mountains project is an integral part of a comprehensive interstate approach to the conservation and management of a landscape-scale Cumberland forest ecosystem. These funds will be used to protect over 27,000 acres in Southern Cumberland Plateau in Jackson and Madison counties.

Senator Shelby said, “We must continue to invest in the protection of our natural resources in Alabama. This area of Alabama is readily manageable, strategically located, and extremely important to the conservation of one of the most biologically rich habitats in the world.”