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Senate Passes Sweeping Land Conservation Bill: 1.3 Million Acres of Wilderness, 620 Miles of Waterways Protected
Senate Passes Sweeping Land Conservation Bill: 1.3 Million Acres of Wilderness, 620 Miles of Waterways Protected
May 19, 2024 1:33 PM

At a Glance

The bipartisan bill will protect millions of acres of wilderness and hundreds of miles of waterways. It will add five new national monuments and expand on 8 national parks.

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed one of the largest land conservation bills in the last decade, which will protect millions of acres of land, hundreds of miles of wild rivers, will add five new national monuments and expand on five existing national parks.

The passed 92 to 8 and will now face the House after the mid-February recess, where it has a wide backing. Despite President Donald Trump's efforts to open up public lands for development, White House officials told the Washington Post the measure into law should it pass the House.

The bill designates 620 miles of waterways across seven states as Wild and Scenic Rivers, protecting them from damming and other development, and permanently withdraws more than 578 square miles from mining around two national parks, including Yellowstone. It also protects more than 2,600 miles of federal trails.

There are five new national monuments included in the bill: St. Francis Dam Disaster, California; Jurassic, Utah; Medgar Evers Home, Mississippi; Mill Springs Battlefield and Camp Nelson, both in Kentucky.

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Significant expansions are also included for several existing national parks: Death Valley, Joshua Tree National Park in California, and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park and Fort Frederica National Monument, all in Georgia.

One of the more significant additions to the bill is the permanent authorization of a federal program known as the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) which lapsed months ago and funnels offshore drilling revenue for conservation and recreation activities.

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