POLITICS: PennAve

Obama signs first public lands bill in five years

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Interior,PennAve,Energy and Environment,Zack Colman

President Obama signed the first congressionally passed public lands bill in five years Thursday, and called on Congress to do more to protect the wilderness.

"Now it’s up to Congress to do even more. There are currently dozens of conservation proposals before Congress – many supported by Democrats and Republicans – that would protect important lands across the country and help grow our economy," Obama said in a statement.

The law officially expands the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Glen Arbor, Mich., a move that will protect an additional 32,500 acres of Lake Michigan coastline. It comes after Obama added the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands to the Coastal California National Monument on Tuesday.

Obama had pledged in his State of the Union address that he would act unilaterally to protect lands if Congress doesn't. His fiscal 2015 budget proposal also called for "an historic" effort to revitalize the nation's parks, which the administration say are economic drivers for local communities.

"Congress should act on these proposals, and in the meantime, I will continue to do my part to protect our federal lands for future generations to enjoy," Obama said.

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