Posted on December 28, 2004
WASHINGTON - The American Bald Eagle Commemorative Coin Act has been signed into law by President George W. Bush. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) was joined by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in introducing the bill in the Senate in October to help honor and protect one of the most widely recognized symbols of freedom. The bill passed the Senate and House of Representatives on December 9. Rep. Bill Jenkins (R-TN) sponsored the bill in the House. With the signing of the bill into law, Alexander said: "It is important that we honor and protect the American bald eagle. Since the Second Continental Congress selected the bald eagle as our country's emblem in 1782, the image of this majestic bird has embodied two core values for Americans, freedom and democracy. I am proud to be a part of this effort to support this national treasure." The legislation allows the U.S. Mint to create a special commemorative coin set to be introduced and marketed in 2008. The special coin set will consist of a $5, $1 and 50-cent piece made from gold, silver and clad. All three will commemorate the success story of the American eagle. The annual interest generated from the American Eagle Fund will be disbursed in the form of competitive grants to support various ongoing private, state and federal eagle care programs, as well as monitoring and protection programs located within the five bald eagle recovery regions, as established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A national Bald Eagle Grant Advisory Team consisting of notable eagle experts representing private, state and federal agencies has been formed by the American Eagle Foundation to establish grant making guidelines, applications and recommendations regarding the distribution of money from the American Eagle Fund.