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New law protects 3.3 million acres in Az

Citizen Staff Writer



A public lands conservation bill signed by President Obama on Monday includes a provision by U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., that will help preserve 26 million acres of wilderness in a National Landscape Conservation System.

The Omnibus Public Land Management Act consists of164 bipartisan bills that designate an additional 2 million acres of wilderness in nine states and establish or expand several national parks and monuments.

“I am proud to have stood with President Obama for the signing of this important piece of legislation,” Grijalva said.

More than 3.3 million acres of public land in Arizona gained permanent protection.

With the bill, it will be much harder to develop near monuments in Arizona such as Ironwood Forest, Agua Fria, Vermillion Cliffs, the Sonoran Desert and Grand Canyon-Parashant.

Also on the list are the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail and 47 wilderness areas.

The bill was approved after years of congressional wrangling. The House passed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act on Wednesdayby a 285-140 vote.

Most Republicans opposed the legislation because it will lock away expanses of land in other states from development and restrict hunting, fishing and energy exploration.

“It vastly expands the federal land system. It locks up too much land as wilderness, parks or other restricted destinations without adequate analysis,” Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Public lands bill signed by Obama includes provision by Grijalva

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