This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Having a federally protected spotted owl or prairie dog on property soon could lower property taxes.

The Senate unanimously passed HB112 on Tuesday, and sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature. It would require county assessors to take into account the presence of federally protected plants and animals when evaluating a property's taxable value.

Its sponsor, Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, said in an earlier hearing, "It's your worst nightmare to have one of these show up on your property," because of limitations on use that it creates. He said relief on the tax burden would help.

However, some conservationists say the measure could allow assessors to arbitrarily devalue land, and seems aimed more at inflaming the politics of endangered species than helping people.

— Lee Davidson

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