November 10, 2009

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) today announced that the Senate has approved $350,000 in federal funding for the High Altitude Air Study in the White Mountain National Forest.  This project is a collaborative effort among the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), the Mount Washington Observatory and Plymouth State University, to conduct studies on how climate conditions impact alpine areas such as the Presidential Range of the White Mountains.  These funds will allow the study to complete its third and final phase of groundbreaking research to provide critical information to policy makers and the public on climate change and air pollution.

This funding was included in the Fiscal Year 2010 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill, which now heads to a joint House/Senate conference committee before returning to each chamber for final passage.  Funding for this project is included within the Committee allocation set out for Fiscal Year 2010.

Senator Shaheen stated, "Climate change is one of the greatest scientific and economic challenges of our life time, and we must fund research that will help us understand the damage that is being done to our  environment so that we can stop it. The Appalachian Mountain Club's research on high altitude ecosystems will help us understand and fight this important aspect of climate change."

Senator Gregg, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, who previously secured $700,000 for the study, stated, "The White Mountains, and specifically the Presidential Range, are not only spectacularly beautiful but support rare and essential ecosystems unique to New Hampshire.  It is critical that we protect this special area of our state.  I want to thank the AMC, the Mount Washington Observatory and Plymouth State University for their ongoing commitment to meeting this responsibility.  Their research will provide valuable information on the effects of climate change and how they impact these high altitude areas."

"Thanks to this important support, we will be able to continue our research into impacts of climate change on New England's high-altitude mountain ecosystems, research that has significant economic and ecological implications regionally and globally. We are grateful for Senator Gregg's consistent support for research to better understand and protect these unique mountain environments," said Dr. Kenneth Kimball, director of research for the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), and principal investigator for this collaborative research project involving the AMC, the Mount Washington Observatory, and Plymouth State University's Meteorology Department.

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