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Panel OKs bill to cut land-acquisition funds

SHARE Panel OKs bill to cut land-acquisition funds

WASHINGTON (AP) — A lands bill that Republicans pushed through a House subcommittee on Wednesday would cut next year's funds for federal land acquisition and could signal months of partisan battling over conservation efforts.

The $19.6 billion legislation passed a panel of the GOP-run House Appropriations Committee by voice vote after Democrats complained that the cuts broke a three-year-old agreement to spend far more money for purchasing park lands, protecting wildlife and restoring polluted coastal areas.

The bill also would provide less than President Bush wanted for developing cars that could run on hydrogen, an initiative he highlighted in his State of the Union address last January.

Under a law enacted three years ago with broad support from both parties, the government could spend nearly $1.6 billion next year for conservation activities ranging from land purchases to protecting migratory birds. The money comes from fees the government collects for offshore drilling.