Utah governor signing bill taking federal lands

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gov. Gary Herbert will sign a bill challenging the federal control of public lands in Utah despite legal warnings about significant constitutional issues. Herbert plans to sign House Bill 148 during a ceremony at the state Capitol on Friday. The bill is demanding the federal government relinquish millions of acres of land within the state by 2014. National parks, wilderness areas, military installations and Indian reservations are exempted. Legislative attorneys have warned the bill has a high probability of being declared unconstitutional. Herbert says he is willing to challenge the federal government in court if a political solution cannot be found. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance says the bill is unconstitutional and could eliminate important protections from development and vehicle use for wildlife refuges, forests and other sensitive areas.

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