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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah House has approved a bill that would allow the state to take federally owned land through the use of eminent domain.
Governments use eminent domain to take private property for public use.
Lawmakers approved House Bill 143 by a margin of 57-13 on Thursday. It now advances to the Senate.
Bill sponsor Rep. Chris Herrod, a Provo Republican, says the federal government violated its contract with Utah when it gained statehood by not selling the lands. He wants to use eminent domain to take lands in Kaiparowits (kuh-PARE-oh-wits) Plateau in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
The area is home to large coal reserves that Herrod contends could help fund the state's schools.
Opponents contend the bill would result in a costly legal battle with little chance of success.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)