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Western lawmakers pick fight with federal authorities over territory
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) ' Western lawmakers are attempting to seize control of federal lands despite warnings that the efforts may be unconstitutional.
Utah is poised to become the first state to pass a bill requiring the federal government to relinquish control of its public land by 2014. Military bases, national parks and wilderness areas would be exempt.
Arizona lawmakers are considering a similar bill.
The Utah Senate is expected to give House Bill 148 final approval Wednesday, after which it will only need the signature of Gov. Gary Herbert.
Republican Sen. Wayne Niederhauser (nee-DER'-how-zer) says the state is missing out on important economic development, mining and agricultural opportunities because of inaccessible federal lands.
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero says the state is destined to fail in court and considers the effort a waste.