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Washington • A land swap between the Ute Indian Tribe and the state of Utah is quickly moving through Congress.

The House approved the agreement sponsored by Rep. Rob Bishop on Wednesday, and a Senate committee may take it up as soon as Thursday.

The legislation would trade the mineral rights to about 20,000 acres within the Hill Creek Extension of the Ute tribe for about 20,000 acres in the oil- and gas-rich northern part of the reservation.

"With this legislation we accomplish the goals of protecting both sensitive tribal lands and the state's and tribe's ability to generate funding for public education and other needs," Bishop said.

The bill is backed not only by the tribe but also by environmentalists and it is sponsored by all six of Utah's federal lawmakers.

Matt Canham