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Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, encouraged Utah legislators on Friday to pursue a lawsuit to seek control over public federal lands — and at the same time sought continued support of his public lands initiative that also seeks some such transfers.

"You should try every avenue, every mechanism that is available. And I applaud you for those efforts," Bishop told the Senate.

That comes as legislators are considering spending up to $14 million on a lawsuit seeking state control over millions of acres of federal public lands, which officials contend could raise millions for public schools.

Bishop said he believes that most lands that are public will remain so, but the question is whether the state or federal government would better manage them.

"You want to regain the control and the access so that decisions can be made that actually benefit people and decisions can be made back here," he said.

"There is more than one way of accomplishing that. There are multiple paths. What we are attempting with [his lands bill] is one of those elements," he said. "There is another path in which going through a legal remedy — that I know the state of Utah is looking at — that could be equally effective."

Bishop also complained about his picture used in online ads that attack his new lands bill. He said that not only was the picture taken "65 pounds ago," it showed him with a sign trying to sell Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. He said his bill tries to expand park boundaries to help protect that arch.

Bishop also told House members that, after years of short-changing the Defense Department — to the point it impaired U.S. foreign policy — Congress is again investing in programs and manpower, especially the new F-35 fighter that he said will be good for Hill Air Force Base in Utah.