US Senate Renews Land and Water Conservation Fund

The US Senate passed a broad public lands conservation bill on Tuesday that includes permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and designation of more than one million acres of land for wilderness protection.

The bipartisan vote was 92 to 8.

The bill goes to the House, where it also has bipartisan support.

The Washington Post reported that the House is expected to take up the measure in late February, and that White House officials have indicated privately that the president will sign it.

The conservation fund, which has supported recreation and conservation projects in all 50 states since the 1960s, expired in September when Congress failed to extend it.

The bill gives wilderness protection to 1.3 million acres in Utah, New Mexico, Oregon, and California, according to the New York Times. Less-stringent protection will be given to land in Montana and Washington state, the Times also reported.

It will also designate about 225 miles of river in Connecticut and Massachusetts and 280 miles of river in Oregon as wild, scenic, or recreational, the Times said.

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