Driving down Interstate 15, with miles of windswept Mojave Desert flashing by, a traveler could be forgiven for not paying the Southern California expanse much attention.
But with its diverse wildlife, scenic vistas and cultural significance — be it Native American petroglyphs or abandoned gold mines — the region has been “increasingly recognized as a very important resource,” conservationist Geary Hund says.
Now Congress is on the verge of passing a bill providing billions of dollars to invest in that resource and others in California and nationwide. The measure, the Great American Outdoors Act, would increase the money available from federal energy fees both to purchase property and to tackle a maintenance backlog at existing public lands after years of budget cuts.
The Senate passed the bill 73-25 in mid-June; the House is planning to vote next week, on Wednesday. President Trump has said he’ll sign it into law. The prospects for passage — the result of an unusual election-year alignment of political interests — mark a major victory for environmental advocates and a sharp contrast with the general stalemate on legislation in Washington.
Read the full story on LATimes.com.