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Published Friday, July 6, 2001
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appropriations for land

Senate panel OKs $3 million to expand forest

Pisgah Forest would grow surrounding Lake James

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $3 million to expand Pisgah National Forest near Lake James, Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., said Thursday.

The U.S. Forest Service had ranked Lake James as its third-highest priority for land acquisition in the South for fiscal 2002, and sought $5 million to buy about 2,000 acres. The land is north and west of the lake in McDowell and Burke counties.

Money approved by the Appropriations Committee is normally approved by the full Senate, Edwards' office said.

The House has budgeted $2.5 million for the purchases next year. A conference committee is expected to set a final figure.

Congress last year appropriated $4 million for the Forest Service to buy about 1,600 acres in the same areas near Lake James. Negotiations continue with the companies that own the property, Champion International and Crescent Resources, a Forest Service spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the Senate committee OK'd $4.3 million for land in the Chattooga watershed in the mountains of the Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia. The House budgeted $975,000.

Bruce Henderson

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