U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) announced on Wednesday that the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources unanimously passed a bill out of committee which included two pieces of legislation he championed. The bill contained the reauthorization of the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area and established Alabama’s Black Belt region as a National Heritage Area. The package now heads to the Senate floor to be voted on by the full Senate.

“Alabama has played a huge role in our nation’s history, and this is great news for our state,” Tuberville said in a statement. “Extending authorization for the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area and establishing a new National Heritage Area in Alabama’s Black Belt region ensures we can continue to share the story of our heritage with Alabamians and visitors alike.”

The National Heritage Area Act provides authorization for National Heritage Areas (NHAs) nationwide.

NHAs are partnerships between the National Park Service, the states and local entities to protect and support conservation and public access.  Through these public-private partnerships, NHAs create a diverse, community-driven approach to increasing heritage conservation, economic development, recreation and tourism.

Currently, the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area is the only NHA in the state. Alabama’s Black Belt region would be established as a new NHA if this bill is passed. This legislation was introduced by U.S. Sens. Tuberville and Richard Shelby (R-Alabama).

The two also co-introduced the bill reauthorizing the Muscle Shoals NHA.

“Northwest Alabama holds great cultural and historical significance for both our state and country,” said Tuberville. “I am proud to introduce legislation that reauthorizes the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area and ensures we preserve our history for generations to come.”

“The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area promotes a wide variety of rich traditions in northwest Alabama,” said Shelby. “From the Tennessee River to Fame Recording Studio, the landmarks and historic culture of these counties should be preserved. I am pleased to introduce this reauthorization bill with Senator Tuberville to help maintain this designation.”

The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area includes the following counties: Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan.

The proposed Black Belt National Heritage Area would include Bibb, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, Washington, and Wilcox counties.

Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees. He is serving in his first term in the U.S. Senate. Shelby is finishing the last year of his sixth and final term.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandon.moseley@1819News.com.

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