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Waterways resolution passes to full House

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A resolution that seeks legislative and governor approval on a federally protected waterway in Utah is winning support from state lawmakers.

The House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Standing Committee on Tuesday passed HCR6 to the full House. The measure asks federal authorities to include the governor and Legislature in their decision to designate any one of Utah's pristine waterways as protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

"It's something that is not mandatory, but I do believe it should get approval of Utah," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Brad Johnson, R-Aurora.

Although the federal law has been in place since 1968, no Utah river has landed on the list. Congress must designate a waterway "wild and scenic" based on a variety of features. And it has rural officials nervous.

In the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, over 800 miles of waterways have been identified as having wild and scenic qualities, said Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab. "It's way overkill."