HED: Authorization for Corinth center held up in Congress, again
By Marty Russell
A $6 million authorization to build an interpretive center to commemorate the Siege and Battle of Corinth is once again under siege in Congress.
Senate Democrats held up passage of an energy bill containing the authorization for the project but not the actual funds. Once a project is authorized, an appropriations bill must be passed to deliver the actual money.
U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., won passage of the authorization in the energy bill as he has three times in the past only to have it killed in the House. This time, however, Lott said the bill was being held up in the Senate because of other provisions it contains.
“Unfortunately, this bill includes the controversial Utah wilderness program,” Lott said Thursday. “Some senators want to add more land to it even though the state’s two senators are against it. Then later (Sen.) Ted Kennedy tried to attach a minimum wage increase to it.”
The bill was finally withdrawn from consideration Wednesday after three days of debate when Republicans failed to get the required 60 votes to cut off debate. The vote was 51-49. It could be revived in an altered form later.
The Utah wilderness proposal, while protecting 2 million acres of federal land in the state, would have opened up much more to mining and development, opponents said.
If approved, the $6 million would be used to build a museum and theater to document Corinth’s involvement in the Civil War. Corinth was a strategic location during the war because it marked the intersection of two major railroads. In the battle that took place Oct. 3-4, 1862, Union forces defeated the Confederate Army and took control of the crossing.