House votes to protect wilderness
WASHINGTON - Congress set aside more than 2 million acres in nine states yesterday as protected wilderness, from California's Sierra Nevada mountains to the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia.
The legislation is on its way to President Obama for his expected signature.
The House approved the bill, 285-140, the final step in a long legislative road that began last year.
The vote was held two weeks after the House rejected the bill amid a partisan dispute over gun rights. The measure was brought up again in the Senate and approved last week.
The bill would be one of the largest expansions of wilderness protection in a quarter-century.
It would confer the government's highest level of protection on land in California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.