U.S. Senate passes bill that would protect Wyo. Range

Laramie, Wyo. – Wyoming land advocates are praising a decision by the U.S. Senate to protect more than 2 million acres of wilderness in nine states.

The vote came today in one of the largest expansions of wilderness protection in 25 years.

In Wyoming, the bill would limit further oil and gas leasing in the Wyoming Range, and protect 387 miles of rivers and streams along the Snake River headwaters. Tom Patricelli is the executive director of the Campaign for the Snake Headwaters. He says it's a victory for outfitters and landowners across Wyoming.

"When you have local fly fisherman and outfitters and hotel and restaurant operators, when they can say come to Wyoming and visit our special places, now the upper Snake watershed will be included," Patricelli said.

The bill was part of a massive public-land of legislation package that will now go to the House for consideration. The Snake Headwaters bill was the last bill the late Senator Craig Thomas introduced in the Senate before he died in 2007.