- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 13, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from Utah officials seeking rights of way over several roads that run through federal lands.

The justices on Tuesday let stand a lower court ruling that said Utah and Kane County could only claim rights to six of 12 routes over which they sought control.

The dispute is one of dozens of lawsuits the state and its counties have filed claiming title to more than 12,000 separate rights of way through federal lands. The contested routes range from graded dirt roads to dry stream beds.

State officials assert their rights under a Civil War-era law that allowed settlers to develop trails over public lands. Environmental groups say increased vehicle access would jeopardize animal habitats and degrade other environmentally sensitive areas.

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