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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Location: Washington, DC


By Mr. CHAMBLISS (for himself and Mr. ISAKSON):

S. 200. A bill to establish the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area in the State of Georgia, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President a mere 20 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the booming city of Atlanta, GA, lies a quiet refuge that cradles historical remnants and nature's beauty. This area around Arabia Mountain houses the ecosystems of endangered species, historic structures, and archeological sites--a treasure deserving of our protection and our admiration.

Arabia Mountain's proximity to Atlanta makes it accessible to millions of Americans, but it also puts this national treasure in danger of urban sprawl. No condominium development should destroy the ancient soapstone quarry which attracted Native Americans over thousands of years ago. Nor should a strip mall tarnish the pristine land which contains farms from the days when the area was the heart of Georgia's dairy industry and which contains remnants of Georgia's Gold Rush in the 1820s.

I, along with my colleague Senator ISAKSON, have introduced legislation to designate Arabia Mountain, which encompasses land in DeKalb County, Rockdale County, and Henry County, as a National Heritage Area. This designation will help preserve the rare and endangered species that inhabit the land, and it will save historic buildings from the wrecking ball that often comes with modernization.

Arabia Mountain and its surrounding area is the product of significant geological changes. Starting several thousand years ago with the quarrying and trading of soapstone, the history of human settlement in the area is closely connected to its geological resources. It would be a shame to allow a decade of uncontrolled growth to deny future generations from enjoying the history and natural beauty of this land.

The quest to obtain National Heritage designation for Arabia Mountain began as a concept between conservationists, neighborhood activists, landowners, and concerned citizens, and support has grown ever since. Local Georgians even voted to tax themselves to support the project. Support has come from both sides of the aisle in both houses of Congress.

I would like to thank all of those who have worked so hard for this designation--Kelly Jordan, Chair of the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance; Mayor Marcia Glenn, of Lithonia; Vernon Jones, CEO of DeKalb County; Mark Towe and Glen Culpepper; and Senator Zell Miller and Congresswoman Denise Majette for their efforts in the 108th Congress on this issue. I ask my colleagues to support the preservation of this truly deserving area.

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