The House has voted to give away Alabama's Heritage and still pending is Senate Bill 81, the "Finders Keepers" law. Combined these are setting up the biggest looting of Selma since Wilson's Raid in April 1865.
If passed, these bills will make it possible for anyone from anywhere to remove artifacts from state waters. Alabama will be the only state in the U.S. with no protection for its underwater cultural resources. Relic collectors from around the country are already buzzing with anticipation and calling in their support for these bills. With over 77,000 miles of navigable state waterways, we stand to lose a tremendous amount of our heritage. Sites that will be affected include Native American sites, towns, fords, landings, the Selma Arsenal site, and many other isolated artifacts. (The bills make special provision for protection of shipwrecks and "burial" sites, but this naively excludes most of what is below our waters and assumes that divers will know what type of site they are on.) This is NOT about diver's rights, this is about relic hunting pure and simple, looting, plundering in other words. It has NOTHING to do with diving or divers who respect history and bringing to light what was lost for the benefit of all.
Behind these Bills (which failed last year) are, for example, a small group who want to dig up the remains of the Selma Arsenal that was dumped into the Alabama River to keep it from the Union Soldiers. These private collectors want to loot the waterways for their own personal collections and keep relics from public view and study in Alabama's museums and heritage collections, they want to keep Alabama's property from the Citizens of Alabama! Selma's Aresenal is an important Confederate battlefield, but they want it for themselves.
Please tell Alabama's Senators they can still be the voice of reason and vote NO on this bill. Don't change the law to allow private collectors in this State and from the Nation to loot Alabama waterways. Preserve Alabama's heritage for Alabama's citizens!
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