President Trump quietly signed a massive public lands bill into law Tuesday, protecting millions of acres from mining and raising the hackles of environmental groups worried that the pro-drilling president will get credit for a major conservation initiative.
With lawmakers from both parties at the White House but no media present, Mr. Trump signed the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. It permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides grants to fund parks and other outdoor recreation initiatives.
The measure also creates four new national monuments, adds thousands of miles to national trails and scenic river systems and designates 700,000 acres of new recreation and conservation areas nationwide.
Scott Pattison, executive director of the National Governors Association, said the law will provide millions more dollars in conservation funding for states.
“This bill is an incredible victory for governors and natural resources upon which their constituents rely for clean air and water and recreational opportunities,” Mr. Pattison said.
The bill establishes a national “open unless closed” standard for hunting and fishing on Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service lands, said Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, who attended the signing ceremony. The legislation also authorizes two additional days to the current duck hunting season for veterans and youth.