Congress approves major public lands, conservation bill

February 26, 2019 - 6:44 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress has passed a wide-ranging bill that revives a popular conservation program, adds 1.3 million acres of new wilderness, expands several national parks and creates five new national monuments.

The measure is the largest public lands bill considered by Congress in a decade. The House approved the bill Tuesday, 363-62, sending it to the White House for the president's signature.

It combines more than 100 separate bills that designate more than 350 miles of river as wild and scenic and create nearly 700,000 acres of new recreation and conservation areas. The bill also withdraws 370,000 acres in Montana and Washington state from mineral development.

The bill would permanently reauthorize the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the country.

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