- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - U.S. Sen. John Walsh says he’s taking the lead role to advance a bill that would expand wilderness protections along the Rocky Mountain Front.

Walsh on Wednesday joined fellow Montana Democrat Sen. Jon Tester as a co-sponsor of the measure. It was introduced by former Sen. Max Baucus before he was named ambassador to China.

The bill would add 67,112 acres to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. It also proposes designating 208,160 acres as a Conservation Management Area. That would limit roads but is not as restrictive as a wilderness declaration.

It passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last fall.

Republican Rep. Steve Daines is Walsh’s potential opponent in the November election for the open Senate seat. Daines has not decided whether to support the proposal.

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