Senate backs massive public lands, conservation bill

February 12, 2019 - 5:11 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has approved a bill that revives a popular conservation program, adds a million acres of new wilderness, expands several national parks and creates four new national monuments.

The massive measure combines more than 100 public-lands bills that add more than 350 miles of wild and scenic rivers and 2,600 miles of federal trails. It designates 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 Senate approved the bill, 92-8, sending it to the House.

The bill permanently reauthorizes the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the country. The program expired last fall after Congress could not agree on language to extend it.

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