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Public Statements

Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2010 -- (House of Representatives - June 25, 2009)

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Mr. ADERHOLT. Madam Chair, I rise to claim the time in opposition to the amendment.

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Mr. ADERHOLT. I just want to thank the Chair and the ranking member for their work on this subcommittee bill. As a ranking member on one of the subcommittees on Appropriations, I know the work that goes into these bills and putting them together, and I thank Mr. Dicks and Mr. Simpson for their hard work on this appropriation bill.

I would like to talk a little bit about this project. The amendment that has been brought up tonight by Mr. Campbell is an amendment that would, of course, eliminate funding for what I believe is a worthy and historic preservation project.

The funding allows the City of Fort Payne, which is a town located in the district that I represent, a relatively small town in rural Alabama, to proceed with this rehabilitation project of an important landmark, as has been stated, the Fort Payne Coal and Iron Building. Also, it should be noted, Madam Chair, that this is included in the Save America's Treasures program.

Fort Payne was first incorporated as a town in 1889 as investors from New England saw coal and iron opportunities in the surrounding areas. During that time period, this particular building, the Fort Payne Coal and Iron Building, was the first building that was constructed. It served as the administrative building and the headquarters for the Fort Payne Coal and Iron Company, and it was from this building that the city itself was planned. This year marks the 120th anniversary of the building as well as the town of Fort Payne.

This has been a project that they are not depending on Federal funds alone, and that's, of course, as Mr. Campbell pointed out. The City of Fort Payne in rural Alabama has spent $50,000 of its own money working on this project. The State of Alabama has committed another $135,000 for this project. The Coal and Iron Building will house a cultural center which will serve this region of the State. The building is on the national register, and it will be a valuable asset of increasing tourism and raising awareness of the cultural heritage of northern Alabama and southern Appalachia, as it will provide educational opportunities which augment certain other activities in the region.

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Mr. ADERHOLT. Thank you. I thank the chairman.

I just would also like to point out that Fort Payne, Alabama, is a community that tries to reach out and help others. It has a rich history of doing that. It was one time the number one sock producer in the world, and it is also the birthplace of the country music legends ``Alabama.'' When New York City suffered the terrorism attack of 2001, the sock industry in Fort Payne donated and delivered hundreds of pairs of socks to the rescue workers who were working around the clock in that particular situation.

So, in closing, Madam Chair, the restoration and the use of the Coal Building will be a significant cultural and educational benefit to northeastern Alabama. While I respect the gentleman who has offered the amendment, I would ask the Members to vote ``no'' on this amendment.

And I would like to show a picture of the building. This is a picture of the Coal and Iron Building. This photo was taken somewhere between 1890 and 1899, and I think you can see that it is a part of American history.

And I would also like to mention, in response to the gentleman from California, that I am a strong supporter of defense spending for this country, but this particular project in no way hinders the defense spending for this country. And, as you know, you can check my record and see that I am a strong supporter of national defense for this country, but this is in a different bill completely. This is in a different set of areas of the appropriation bill, so I would like to just stress that to the other Members, and I would ask them if they would respectfully vote ``no'' on the amendment.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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