Utah House passes federal land transfer deadline

Thursday , March 01, 2012 - 8:40 AM

Contributed

SALT LAKE CITY-- A package of potentially unconstitutional bills seeking a legal fight over federal control of millions of acres in Utah has passed the House.

Republican Rep. Roger Barrus of Centerville says the state is missing out on important economic development, mining and agricultural opportunities because of inaccessible federal lands.

Barrus says the potential benefits for the state outweigh the risks of passing bills that legislative attorneys have warned are likely unconstitutional.

All four bills passed Wednesday night with more than a two-thirds margin in the House. They now move to the Senate.

The bills demand that the federal government transfer its lands to the state by 2014 or face litigation.

Democratic Rep. Brian King of Salt Lake City says the bills are gimmicks destined to fail in court.

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