Feds want Alabama to repay $5.1 million

Jul 12, 2012

The U.S. Forest Service says it will soon send the Alabama Forestry Commission a bill for $5.1 million due to unsubstantiated spending from a federal grant.

The notice was contained in a letter from the service's chief financial officer, Thelma Strong, to State Forester Linda Casey. Strong said the state has not adequately addressed unsupported costs.

Casey says the federal government is misunderstanding Alabama's accounting procedures for the grant, and her agency doesn't owe anything.

The federal money was for eradicating invasive cogon grass, re-establishing longleaf pine forests and conducting prescribed burnings.

An attorney for the Alabama Forestry Commission attorney said the federal agency is holding up $6 million in funding for the state while the dispute is resolved.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)