Congress passed its first conservation bill since 2010 on Tuesday when the House approved legislation protecting more of Lake Michigan's shoreline.
The House sent a measure to President Obama's desk that would expand the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Glen Arbor, Mich., by 32,500 acres. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., sponsored it in the Senate, and Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich., took the House lead.
The move comes after Obama pledged in his State of the Union address to unilaterally protect more public lands if Congress did not act. The president also announced in his fiscal 2015 budget proposal, released Tuesday, that the Interior Department would embark on "an historic" effort to revitalize the nation's parks.
Environmental groups had blamed House Republicans for recent inaction on conservation bills. While they have been lobbying for movement on Capitol Hill, they also have pressured Obama to go it alone on conservation, pointing to GOP lawmakers' desires to expand oil and gas drilling on federal land as a roadblock.