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Legislation to protect Flathead blocked from Senate floor vote


HELENA, Montana — Three U.S. senators have blocked a floor vote on legislation to protect the North Fork Flathead River.

Democratic U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and John Walsh of Montana called for the vote Thursday afternoon. They are sponsoring the bill, which would bar mining and oil and gas development on hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land west of Glacier National Park.

The Flathead Beacon reports Republican Sen. Pat Toomey objected on behalf of Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

A similar measure by Montana Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines passed the House last month.

Daines says the Democratic Senate majority could pass the bill if it wanted to.

Walsh spokeswoman Andrea Helling says a Republican procedural move is blocking the vote.

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