WASHINGTON, D.C. The House approved a series of bills Monday to protect national forest land in the West, including the designation of new wilderness areas in three Western states.
The bills would create nearly 670,000 acres of new wilderness and protect 47 miles of wild and scenic rivers in California, Idaho and Oregon, as well as ban drilling in northern New Mexico's Valle Vidal.
The bills would protect about 277,000 acres in California, 315,000 acres in Idaho and 77,200 acres in Oregon. In all, about 1,046 square miles of new wilderness would be created.
The unanimous votes - which sent the bills to the Senate - were unusual, particularly since they involved wilderness expansion, typically a contentious process.