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In spite of widespread voter support, conservation bills stall Congress

By Ron Dungan
Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2023 - 5:05am

Last November, the Center for Western Priorities released a report on public lands legislation that has stalled in Congress, including some proposals for Arizona.

The nonprofit says little has changed since then.

Although voter support for conservation remains high, a number of bills to preserve public lands have stalled.

A proposal to protect a stretch of the Gila River, for example, has been stuck for about a decade.

The Senate scheduled a natural resources committee meeting to address some of the legislation last week, only to postpone it.

"This has been a pattern for some years now. Some of the bills that we profiled in Languishing Lands have been introduced in Congress after Congress after Congress, year after year after year," said Rachel Hamby of the Center for Western Priorities.

She says one way to bypass the gridlocked Congress is through the Antiquities Act, which allows the president to create national monuments.