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Murky wording snags museum aid

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WASHINGTON — Some murky legislative wording is preventing use of $500,000 to help build a museum at a St. George site where hundreds of dinosaur tracks were discovered.

But Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, is trying to fix that.

Last year, Congress enacted legislation by former Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, to authorize spending up to $500,000 for the purchase of up to 10 acres with the dinosaur tracks and to preserve it and its fossils.

However, Matheson said the Department of Interior is interpreting that wording to mean it may release themoney only for buying land.

Matheson said St. George bought the land for about $80,000 from Sheldon and LaVerna Johnson — who discovered the dinosaur tracks — before Hansen's bill passed, and planned to use the federal money for a museum on the site.

Matheson introduced a bill this week to clarify that the $500,000 may be used to preserve, display and interpret the 200 million-year-old dinosaur tracks.