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“Now we find ourselves today with 116 years of government entanglements and burdensome regulation on the public lands in Utah,” said state Rep. Roger Barrus, who supports the bills.

Interior spokesman Adam Fetcher said the department has no comment on the Utah bills. If the government refuses to turn over the lands by 2014, the Utah attorney general would be authorized to spend $3 million to launch a court battle.

With potentially billions in untapped tax revenue at stake, however, Utah lawmakers are willing to take a few risks. They’re also trying to build support. Mr. Herbert is planning to host a Rocky Mountain Roundtable of Western lawmakers in May to discuss the idea.

“All the states are watching Utah to see what happens, and he’s hoping we can lock arms and present a united front,” Ms. Isom said.