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A Senate committee has given its support to a bill that would challenge U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's plan to review Bureau of Land Management acreage for possible protection as wildlands.

Sen. Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, introduced the bill to establish a state land use planning program in support of local governments that participated in BLM's previous planning process. That process led to the opening of some wilderness-quality federal lands to possible development, but Salazar has since ordered the agency to look for lands worthy of administrative protection.

Mark Ward, of the Utah Association of Counties, said Okerlund's bill would help establish the state's opposition to such protections, which could aid in a court challenge to the federal policy.