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Gazette Premium Content Report decries slow pace of land protection

Associated Press Updated: March 20, 2014 at 5:46 pm

DENVER (AP) — Conservation groups are complaining Congress is taking too long to protect public land.

A new report from the Equal Ground coalition lists 10 bills proposed to protect scenic areas that have long languished in Congress. The measures have bipartisan support. Those include Brown's Canyon on the Arkansas River in Colorado, the Organ Mountains in southern New Mexico and an expansion to the Alpine Lakes wilderness near Seattle.

Environmentalists say Congress preserved no new land between 2009 and last week when it gave new wilderness designation to 32,000 acres on the shore of Lake Michigan. But some westerners in Congress argue that the federal government has locked up too much land in the region. They say there's no need to rush new protections and argue many don't have full local support.

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