Senate Passes Biggest Public Lands Package in Decades

WASHINGTON – The Senate today passed a massive bipartisan package of bills that would protect vast swaths of public lands and wilderness in Utah and permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, among other important environmental strides.

The following is a statement from Sharon Buccino, director of Lands for the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This is a historic step toward delivering what Americans want – lands protected now and for our children, and politicians that work together and get things done.

“At a time when the word ‘bipartisan’ has threatened to disappear, leaders in both parties found common ground. Senator Durbin and former Senator Hatch led the way as 2018 wrapped up and leaders in the new Congress picked up where they left off to move the bill toward the finish line.

"This is not a perfect bill. It shows, though, what can be achieved when leaders are willing to compromise, and it clears the way for more progress going forward.”

The measure, which the House is expected to take up after a short President Day’s recess, includes the largest wilderness designation in 25 years, including almost three-quarters of a million acres of Utah’s iconic San Rafael Swell and Desolation and Labyrinth Canyons as designated wilderness.

# # #

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC