Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

Congress’ attempt to add more than 25,000 acres of federally designated wilderness fell just short of passage on its vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The vote, 282 in favor and 144 against, fell just two votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage. Two-thirds were needed because House leaders brought the measure to a vote under suspended rules.

The $10 billion omnibus lands bill contained more than 177 separate bills, which combined would have added more than 2 million acres of additional wilderness.

Despite the narrow defeat — or maybe because of it — the bill’s champions vowed to bring the measure up for another vote sometime in the future.

“There are a lot of good bills, sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans, contained in (the lands bill) that deserve passage,” said Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. “We will continue to determine the best course of action to advance these measures.”

Hunters had voiced concerns that the bill might prohibit hunting on many of the proposed areas. Just before the vote, congressional Democrats amended the measure so it wouldn’t restrict hunting, fishing or trapping.

The text of the bill, S. 22, can be found at  http://thomas.loc.gov/