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December 22, 2010 at 5:18 PM

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Reichert-Murray Alpine Lakes Wilderness bill dies in Senate

Posted by Kyung M. Song

WASHINGTON -- A bill to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area east of Seattle has once again died in Congress.

Senate Republicans on Wednesday night blocked a motion by Democratic Sen. Patty Murray for unanimous consent to pass the legislation shortly before Congress adjourned for the year.

This is the second time that the clock ran out on the bill, which was first introduced by Republican Rep. Dave Reichert of Auburn in August 2007. The House passed the measure in March by a voice vote. It was the only wilderness bill to clear the House this year.

On Wednesday, Murray offered the bill for unanimous consent both as part of a larger lands bill and separately on its own, but Senate Republicans would not clear it. In a statement, Murray and her co-sponsor, Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, said it was disappointing that Republicans would not support the bipartisan bill. They said they plan to reintroduce the measure.

The bill would add 22,000 acres to the 394,000-acre Alpine Lakes Wilderness area, enlarging the popular recreational destination. It also would designate the Pratt River and the 27-mile middle fork of the Snoqualmie River as wild and scenic.

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