Senate approves $2.8 billion plan to boost conservation, parks

FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2018 file photo, emigrant Peak is seen rising above the Paradise Valley and the Yellowstone River near Emigrant, Mont. Lawmakers have reached bipartisan agreement on an election-year deal to double spending on a popular conservation program and devote nearly $2 billion a year to improve and maintain national parks. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)

WASHINGTON - The Senate has approved a bipartisan bill that would double spending on a popular conservation program and devote nearly $2 billion a year to improve and maintain national parks.

The 73-25 vote on Wednesday sends the Great American Outdoors Act to the House, where approval is expected. It would be the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly half a century. The bill would spend about $2.8 billion per year on conservation, outdoor recreation and park maintenance.

"America's hundreds of millions of acres of public lands are the result of hundreds of years of exploration and conservation," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell, R-Ky.

The Senate vote will "ensure this inheritance will stand the test of time for generations of Americans yet to come," McConnell said, urging the House to pass it quickly.

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