Conservation Bill Goes To Full Senate

New Mexico – A bill that would protect about 370 square miles of public land in northern New Mexico has passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman said Wednesday the bill would protect the Rio Grande Del Norte National Conservation Area managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Taos and Rio Arriba counties. The measure is co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall.

Bingaman says the upper reaches of the Rio Grande Gorge and the Taos Plateau would be managed as a conservation area. The area has elk and is a wintering ground for migratory birds.

Two areas would be managed as wilderness. They area the 13,400-acre Cerro del Yuta, which contains an extinct volcano called Ute Mountain, and the 8,000-acre Rio San Antonio.

The bill now goes to the full Senate.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.