Utah Debating Ancient Rock Toppling Bill After Boy Scout Incident

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Balance Rock in Garden of the Gods State Park, Colorado.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Utah lawmakers are scheduled to consider a bill that would dish out harsher punishments to those who damage Utah’s geologic features.

Ogden Republican Rep. Dixon Pitcher sponsors the proposal after two former Boy Scout leaders were accused of toppling a rock formation at Goblin Valley State Park. The men said the formation might otherwise have fallen and killed a visitor.

The two men face felony criminal mischief charges for tipping the mushroom shaped sandstone pillar, which is about 170 million years old.

Emery County Attorney David Blackwell said he filed the charges Friday but hopes to negotiate a plea deal.

Under Pitcher’s pending bill, state parks damage valued at $1,500 or more could land a felony charge punishable by up to five years in prison.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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