- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 29, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A southern New Mexico tribe has been awarded federal funding to evaluate the potential of reopening one of its lumber mills.

The Mescalero Apache Tribe will use a $99,900 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a market feasibility study and a forest assessment for the mill once operated by Mescalero Forest Products.

Tribal officials have testified before Congress in recent years that the closure of the tribe’s two sawmills eliminated jobs for nearly 300 workers. The mills were also a source of revenue for the tribe and a tool for forest management in the region.

USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner said Monday that the agency and tribe are taking the first steps needed to reopen the Mescalero Forest Products Mill, which experts have said could result in dozens of direct jobs.

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