Mighty Don Young
The House overwhelmingly approved a major bill yesterday that would set aside $45 billion over 15 years to buy green spaces, protect wildlife, restore damaged coastal areas, and pay for other environmental projects. The measure, which would be funded by oil-drilling royalties collected by the federal government, would more than double the government’s current budget for land acquisition. The measure had unusual bipartisan backing — it was championed by House Resources Chair Don Young (R-Alaska), usually an opponent of eco-friendly legislation, and supported by more than half of House Republicans and nearly all Democrats. The bill will now be taken up in the Senate, where it seems to be favored by a bipartisan majority but could run into trouble from Western Republicans who say it would threaten private property rights.