- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Latest on a representatives from the outdoor recreation industry criticizing Utah’s lands push (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

Leaders of Utah’s outdoors industry and a conservation group say outdoor recreation in the state would be harmed if Utah took control of vast swaths of public land from the federal government.

The group is putting up billboards in Utah, Colorado, Nevada and Arizona that criticize the push by Republican state officials to take control of about 30 million acres.

They argue that Utah would have to sell off public land or ramp up drilling and mining to be able to afford the cost of managing the land.

Utah legislators say the state would be a better manager. They’ve set aside $4.5 million for a potential lawsuit over the issue.

Lawmakers say Utah’s legal claim to the land lies in the enabling act Congress passed allowing Utah to become a state, but critics dispute that.

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9 a.m.

Leaders of Utah’s nearly $6 billion outdoor recreation industry are launching a campaign that criticizes a push by state officials to take control of vast swaths of public land from the federal government.

Outdoor officials and conservationists are launching a billboard campaign Monday that they say shows how the lands push threatens Utah’s recreation industry.

Utah passed a 2012 law demanding the federal government hand over control of much of the state’s public lands by 2015. That deadline passed and some legislators want to pursue a lawsuit to gain control.

Critics say the state has no legal claim to the land and could not afford to manage it if Utah somehow gained control.

The group launching the billboards includes Brad Petersen, Gov. Gary Herbert’s former director of Outdoor Recreation.

He resigned in November to work in the private sector.

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