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U.S. Senate

Wilderness bill passes US Senate; protects 275,000 acres

A new wilderness in Idaho is a presidential signature away from becoming reality. The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a bill protecting 275,000 acres in central Idaho. The U.S. House of Representatives passed similar legislation last week, meaning it now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. The wilderness plan cobbled together by U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, has been in the making for 15 years as he tried to balance the interests of ranchers, recreationists and environmental groups. He ranked it as one of his top accomplishments as a lawmaker. "Probably the highest because I've worked on it longer than I have anything else," he said by phone on Tuesday....