Senate Boosts Wilderness Protection

Sunday, January 11th 2009, 10:01 pm
By: News On 6

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- In a rare session on Sunday, the Senate advanced legislation that would set aside more than 2 million acres in nine states as wilderness.

Majority Democrats assembled more than enough votes to overcome GOP stalling tactics in an early showdown for the new Congress.

Republicans complained that Democrats did not allow amendments on the massive bill, which calls for the largest expansion of wilderness protection in 25 years.

The bill's chief opponent, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, denounced what he called Democratic bullying tactics.

Coburn and several other Republicans complained that bill was loaded with pet projects and prevented development of oil and gas on federal lands, which they said would deepen the nation's dependence on foreign oil.