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Lawmaker says he wants to reclaim Utah lands

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A state lawmaker says he wants to reclaim Utah's lands and resources from the federal government so the public can use them for recreation and energy development.

Rep. Michael Noel, R-Kanab, says he's declaring another Sagebrush Rebellion and he's also drafting a bill to make it a state felony to try to stop legal development of federal and state lands.

The bill is a 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.

Environmental groups blasted the auction, parts of which have since been invalidated by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, saying it threatened the state's wild lands. DeChristopher has acknowledged he made the bids with no intention to pay for the leases he won.

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

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