President Obama signed a massive lands package into law today, protecting more than two million acres as wilderness and creating a new national system to conserve land held by the Bureau of Land Management.
The measure, a collection of 170 different bills that represents the most significant wilderness law in at least 15 years, would provide the highest level of federal protection to areas such as Oregon’s Mount Hood and part of Virginia’s Jefferson National Forest, along with other sites in California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Utah and West Virginia. It also authorizes the first coordinated federal research program to investigate ocean acidification and additional funding to protect ecologically-valuable coastal areas and estuaries.
At the signing ceremony Obama said, “This legislation guarantees that we will not take our forests, rivers, oceans, national parks, monuments, and wilderness areas for granted, but rather we will set them aside and guard their sanctity for everyone to share. That’s something all Americans can support.”
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