Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness Act passes U.S. Senate | SkyHiNews.com

Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness Act passes U.S. Senate

Tonya Bina
tbina@skyhidailynews.com
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Photo Courtesy of Rocky Mountain National Park

The Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness Act is one step closer to law, with the U.S. Senate passing the Omnibus Public Land Management Act in the Senate on Wednesday.

Out of about 170 pieces of legislation in the package bill that would set aside 2 million acres in nine state, four bills pertain to public lands in Colorado. Included is a provision that would designate nearly 250,000 acres of Rocky Mountain National Park as wilderness.

The omnibus bill had its own rocky start with failure in the U.S. House by two votes last week before the Senate repackaged the legislation and sent it through again. The Senate first approved the measure in January, but it was defeated amid a partisan dispute over a plan to allow concealed, loaded guns in national parks, according to the Associated Press. U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) and U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) both voted against the bill.

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources who has been championing Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness his entire political career, sent out statements immediately after Wednesday’s Omnibus Senate passage.

“The omnibus public lands bill will ensure that future generations of Americans experience the beauty of Western landscapes,” he said. “For Coloradans, this package makes good on long-discussed efforts to preserve the Front Range Mountain Backdrop and resolves a Nixon-era promise for wilderness at Rocky Mountain National Park. The bill also takes an important step toward protecting water supplies for the Arkansas Valley.”

The Senate vote was 77-20 in favor and now moves to the House for a majority vote.

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“I expect a speedy passage by the House of Representatives, and look forward to this bill becoming law,” Udall said.

– Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@skyhidailynews.com.

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