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Congress Sends Public Lands Bill to President

March 25, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

The House today approved the landmark Omnibus Public Land Management Act, designating 2 million acres of land in 9 states as wilderness areas. I blogged about the legislation before, when the House narrowly defeated the measure by two votes. Through a bit of parliamentary maneuvering, however, the Senate took up the Legislation again as a substitute amendment. Basically, they took the text of S.22 and dropped it into H.R. 146 (see the full text and changes here).

The effort to approve H.R. 146 was not without its own hurdles. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) worked to hold up the legislation until a series of six amendments was allowed. The Senate approved just one, to reduce penalties for removing fossilized rocks from national parks. The final bill cleared that chamber by a vote of 77-20.

In the House, 285 representatives voted for the legislation — two more than voted for it that last time around. We’ll have full roll-call details as soon we they’re available.

President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill.

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