Utah House OKs bill on land lease auction bidding

Utah House OKs bill on land lease auction bidding

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah House has voted to make it illegal to fraudulently bid on land for agricultural production or natural resources.

Rep. Michael Noel, R-Kanab, is sponsoring House Bill 437 to make bidding for a lease at a land auction without the intention to pay for it a third degree felony carrying up to a $7,500 fine.

The bill was drafted partly in response to environmental activist Tim DeChristopher, who in December successfully bid $1.7 million for 13 parcels at a lease auction for oil and gas drilling in Utah. DeChristopher has acknowledged he made the bids with no intention to pay for the leases he won.

The bill passed the House floor unanimously on Monday and now moves to the Senate.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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