Government wants protection restored for Utah prairie dogs | us news

Government wants protection restored for Utah prairie dogs

29 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

10th Circuit hears prairie dog case brought by Iron County landowners.

DENVER — A lawyer for the U.S. Salt Lake City — A court battle over a Utah prairie dog ruling that activists say could undermine the Endangered Species Act is set to come before a federal appeals court in Denver on Monday.In this Aug. 6, 2015 photo, a prairie dog looks from a artificial burrow made from irrigation piping after arriving at the remote site in the desert, some 25 miles away from Cedar City, Utah. Fish and Wildlife Service told an appeals court Monday that a federal judge in Utah went too far when when he struck down protections for a kind of prairie dog found only in that state. They said federal protections were allowing the small, burrowing animals to take over the town’s golf course, airport and cemetery and even interrupt funerals with their barking.

Wood, of the Pacific Legal Foundation, represents residents who say the prairie dogs have become so numerous they’re overrunning parts of town, and they want relief from the federal rules. District Judge Dee Benson decided that the Commerce Clause doesn’t allow the federal government to regulate animals found on private land in only one state.

The ruling returned management of the species on nonfederal land back to the state, a significant legal development regarding state authority over wildlife management. After Benson’s decision was handed down in November, Utah wildlife authorities adopted a new plan that has allowed some 2,500 animals to be trapped and move out of town so far this summer, something that had previously been difficult and complicated. The case was brought on behalf of a group called People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners that represents entities like Cedar City — which owns an airport, golf course and cemetery — as well as private property owners or developers and the widow and son of a man whose gravesite was damaged by the burrowing animals. On the other side, 10 states have stepped in to support the decision: Utah, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming and now Michigan.

What plainsmen have long settled with a .22 and poison, is a lot more complex today from the web of environmental concerns (endangered species and clean water) to city slicker sentiment (prairie dogs are hot pet-shop item from L.A. to Tokyo).

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