Washington (AP) - The house has passed and sent to President Barack Obama a long-delayed bill to set aside more than 2 million acres in nine states as protected wilderness.
The 285-140 vote comes 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, setting up today's vote.
The bill would confer the government's highest level of protection on land in California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
Supporters said the bill would preserve national forests, parks, rivers, battlefields and other public lands for generations.
Opponents called the bill a “land grab” that would block energy development on vast swaths of federal land.
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