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More wilderness on tap for New Mexico in public lands bill

February 27, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico will see more than a dozen new wilderness areas created under a sweeping public lands bill approved by Congress.

The House approved the measure Tuesday, sending it to the White House for the president’s signature. It marks the largest public lands bill considered by federal lawmakers in a decade.

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan said the bill marks a momentous step toward safeguarding public lands and natural resources.

The New Mexico Democrat specifically pointed to language that would permanently reauthorize the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. He says the fund has resulted in more than $312 million for the state.

The new wilderness designations would cover more than 270,000 acres (1,093 square kilometers), most of it within the boundaries of two national monuments on opposite ends of the state.