Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
FILE - A bill sponsored by Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, R-Vernal, would make clear the state Division of Oil, Gas and Mining has ultimate authority over oil and gas production if a town or county passes rules that have interfered with that function.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee endorsed legislation Tuesday that would put into law the "bright line of authority" Utah has over oil and gas production, as opposed to state and local government.

SB191, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, R-Vernal, establishes that state authority in instances where state and local government may pass ordinances and rules that thwart mineral production.

Van Tassell explained there may be instances where owners of surface and mineral rights are at odds with each other, but the state has clear interest in the production of those mineral rights.

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In other parts of the country, too, state and local government have adopted ordinances to prohibit oil or gas production. This proposal would be prevent that.

Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, said it's important for there to be uniformity among county boundaries — just as there is on state highways from town to town.

But Ashley Soltysiak, director of the Utah Sierra Club, said the measure upends local control.

Sen. Brian Zehnder, R-Holladay, said he was voting against the measure for that reason, but he emphasized that he wants to learn more the bill during full Senate debate.