Denver (AP) A mining proposal tucked away in the massive budget bill making its way through Congress won approval in the U.S. House of Representatives Friday. The measure would speed up the development of oil–shale in the west, allowing the sale of tens of millions of acres of public land to the highest bidder.
Supporters say the changes are needed to stop the sale of federal lands at rock–bottom prices. Some environmentalists and resort towns in Colorado worry that it will also allow building on public lands.
Opponents say it's so vague that anybody with money would be able to stake a mining claim and buy land without having to actually mine it.
The measure passed by just two votes. Colorado's delegation was split on party lines. All Republicans voted for it and all Democrats voted against it.
Copyright 2005 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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