The Washington Post reported this week that the Senate voted 92-to-8 on Tuesday to approve a bill that designates 1.3 million acres of newly designated as wilderness, 370,000 acres just outside two of the nation’s national parks. 620 miles of river in seven states would be protected from damming and development, and more than 380 species of birds would see their habitats protected through 2022.
The Congressional Budget Office predicts the legislation would wind up saving money for taxpayers. The White House has signaled support.
The legislation would create a federal program that funnels offshore drilling revenue to conserve a spread of sites that includes major national parks and wildlife preserves, as well as local baseball diamonds and basketball courts.
“It took public lands to bring divided government together,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who partnered with his Democratic counterpart Jon Tester to permanently block mineral extraction from 30,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land right outside Yellowstone National Park.