The Clarion-Ledger, 1/20/9

The U.S. Senate has passed legislation that would bring federal money to the Mississippi Delta and hills regions by designating them National Heritage Areas.

The bill, now headed for the U.S. House, adds 18 Mississippi counties to the National Heritage Areas program, which provides federal grants to develop regional tourism. A heritage designation comes with a federal grant of up to $1 million a year, matched with local money.

U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, both R-Miss., say the legislation was included in the larger Public Lands Management Act of 2009 that passed last week.

Counties in the bill are Warren, Issaquena, Sharkey, Yazoo, Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma, DeSoto, Holmes, Humphreys, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica and Washington.