House gives thumbs-up to conservation program
Some 27 million acres of federal land in the U.S. West and Alaska would be formally recognized as conservation-worthy under legislation passed Wednesday by the House of Representatives. The National Landscape Conservation System has been in place since 2000 to “conserve, protect, and restore these nationally significant landscapes,” and the House legislation would make the program law. The bill doesn’t restrict current rules guiding recreation, energy development, and grazing rights on the lands, but keeps any future Interior officials from deciding to abolish NLCS protections. The Senate is considering similar legislation and the Bush administration has indicated support.