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Deal to protect ancient art in Utah canyon signed

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MIKE STARK | January 5, 2010 05:32 PM EST | AP


SALT LAKE CITY — An agreement to protect a central Utah canyon rich with ancient American Indian art while allowing for nearby mineral development has been approved.

The unusual pact governing Nine Mile Canyon was signed Tuesday at the Utah Capitol by federal and state agencies, conservation and archaeology groups, tribal leaders and a Colorado natural gas producer.

The deal sets out a list of tasks, including increased efforts to tamp down dust kicked up by trucks in the canyon that some fear hurts thousands of ancient rock paintings and carvings.

Denver-based Bill Barrett Corp. is awaiting federal environmental approval to add 800 gas wells on high plateaus that are accessible only from the canyon.