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House passes bill protecting 2 million acres of wilderness

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(Read caption) Under the bill, 250,000 acres of wilderness in and near Utah's Zion National Park would win designation as wilderness.

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In what's being called the most sweeping land protection law in a quarter century, the US House of Representatives Wednesday passed a conservation plan to set aside more than 2 million acres of desert and forest in nine states.

The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, which cleared the Senate last week, was approved by a margin of 285 to 140 and has been sent to President Obama for his signature.

The bill would officially designate land in California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia as wilderness. That means no logging, mining, drilling, or even vehicles.

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