Monday, March 30, 2009

Just in from Washington

Obama Signs Wilderness Bill

Washtington--Flanked by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, President Barack Obama signed into law today the conservation plan that protects 2 million acres of wilderness and preserve monuments, trails and rivers across the country.
``This is one of those tremendously beautiful places, where we have an unequaled landscape ... that is mixed with a rugged, hardy people who have developed strong cultures there. This is land that needed to be preserved,'' said Crapo.

In the White House signing ceremony Obama said Monday the most valuable things in life are those already possessed. The law protects land from the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia to California's Sierra Nevada mountains to the wild Owyhees in Idaho.

"Our lands have always provided great bounty," Obama said today as he signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, which won final approval last week. "What these gifts require in return is our wise stewardship."

The legislation authorizes some $10 billion in spending for wildlife and land protection and also adds 2 million acres in nine states to the National Wilderness Preservation System; a system that currently consists of 10 million acres in 44 states.

The measure is the culmination of years of effort by conservationists, sportsmen and ranchers to protect large and small swaths of land across the country.

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