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Legislators frustrated with federal control of lands across the state are proposing laws to challenge those policies.

The proposals may look to local law enforcement for support, which some opponents worry could lead to armed conflicts with federal officers.

A plan from Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, would void any federal land designation made without the Legislature's approval. The bill is being reviewed by legislative attorneys.

Access to the disputed lands would be maintained by local sheriffs in whatever manner necessary, Wimmer said.

"There's not much more land the federal government can take," said Wimmer. "I'm saying any further land grabs not coordinated with the Legislature will be null and void."

Wimmer said the bill was prompted in large part by a December decision by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to review millions of acres of undeveloped land in Utah for a possible wilderness designation.

House Minority Leader David Litvack, D-Salt Lake City, said Wimmer's proposal concerns him because of its implications for police.

"We're putting local law enforcement in a dangerous position," Litvack said. "We should not be advocating anything that forces them to break federal laws."

Sen. Dennis Stowell, R-Parowan, who represents portions of six rural counties in southern Utah, said his district was ready for a fight.

More than 70 percent of the land in Utah is managed by the federal government and in some counties, it's more than 90 percent, Stowell said.

"They're past discussing what the federal government is doing," he said. "I think our local sheriffs would be behind this, even if it means they're breaking federal laws."

Gov. Gary Herbert has called the Salazar decision a "knife in the back" because state officials were not consulted.

Herbert received the loudest ovations during his State of the State address last week when he declared Utah "is not a colony" and criticized Salazar.

He said Thursday Wimmer's proposal "is not the best way," but that he shares the frustration.

"The pendulum has swung too far towards Washington, D.C. We need to stand up and fight back," the governor said.

Last year, legislators passed a law allowing the state to claim federal lands through eminent domain. It was backed with a $3 million defense fund.

No lawsuits have yet been filed, but Herbert's office was preparing a lawsuit to claim hundreds of roads.

Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City, said that instead of expensive legal fights, Utah's leaders should focus on dialogue with federal officials.

"The money would be better used, and our efforts better served, explaining to the federal government the unique challenges Utah faces because of the amount of federal land," he said.

Brent Gardner, the executive director of the Utah Association of Counties, said the frustration level has been recognizable for a long time, but increased noticeably after Salazar's decision.

"The root of the problem is political. There's a lot of votes from the East deciding what happens in the West," he said.