Desert discord

A major land conservation bill lies stalled in the us Congress. The California Desert Protection Bill, described as the biggest land conservation measure in the country in over a decade, is being fought tooth and nail by 5 Republican representatives from California.

The Bill seeks to create 74 wilderness areas and 3 national parks in the state's arid zone that stretches over an area of 3.24 million ha. It would put substantial tracts of the desert off-limits to miners, livestock grazing and hunters. While environmentalists are delighted with the prospect, the locals are far from happy. They feel that by keeping off the miners, the Bill is likely to end up ruining the state's economy.