Press Release

Reminder: Watch Stossel cover PLF win over ESA prairie dog regs

Sacramento, CA; December 4, 2014:Tonight’s installment of “Stossel with John Stossel” on Fox Business Network will highlight Pacific Legal Foundation’s landmark court victory over the federal Endangered Species Act regulations for the Utah prairie dog — the first time a federal court has held ESA regulations invalid under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

The program was originally set for broadcast in November, but was rescheduled for tonight — Thursday, December 4, 2014.

PLF represents People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners (PETPO), a broad coalition of residents of Cedar City, Utah, who have been blocked by ESA regulations from protecting their property from Utah prairie dogs and the damage they cause. Recently, U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson sided with PLF’s lawsuit and held that the federal government may not bar property owners from trying to control the Utah prairie dog population on their own land. This is because the Utah prairie dog does not affect interstate commerce, so it does not fall within federal regulatory jurisdiction under the Commerce Clause.

The Stossel episode will feature PLF Staff Attorney Jonathan Wood, along with Bruce Hughes, a PETPO member. Hughes has been unable to develop a small parcel he bought as a retirement investment, because prairie dogs moved onto the land.

About Pacific Legal Foundation
Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation is the leading legal watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations, in courts across the country. PLF represents all clients free of charge.

Case Attorneys

M. Reed Hopper

Senior Attorney

Reed Hopper is a Senior Attorney in PLF’s Environmental Law Practice Group. He oversees the Foundation’s Endangered Species Act Program that is designed to ensure that species protections are balanced … ›

View profile

Jonathan Wood


Jonathan Wood is an attorney at PLF’s DC Center, where he litigates environmental, property rights, and constitutional cases. He is passionate about finding constitutional, effective, and fair solutions to environmental … ›

View profile

Case Commentary

See all posts

By Jonathan Wood

PLF asks Supreme Court to restore constitutional limits on federal power

Our Constitution limits the federal government’s powers to those expressly listed in the document But the government we have today is a far cry from the limited government described by our Founding Fathers

PLF is asking the Supreme Court to restore the Constitution’s limits by rejecting an extreme, limitless interpretation of the Commerce Clause Representing People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners, we are challenging federal overreach under the Endangered Species Act

For decades, a federal regulation kept the people of southwestern Utah from doing things that the rest of us take for granted in our own communities They were blocked from building homes, starting small businesses, even protecting playgrounds, an

Read more

By Jonathan Wood

PLF petitions for rehearing in Utah prairie dog case

This morning, we filed a petition for rehearing en banc in People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v US Fish & Wildlife Serviceour challenge to the federal government’s constitutional authority to regulate take of the Utah prairie dog Three years ago, the District Court for the District of Utah ruled the regulation unconstitutional But in March, a panel of judges from the Tenth Circuit overturned that decision

To uphold the federal regulation, the court stretched the Constitution’s Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses beyond recognition The panel hung its hat on the

Read more

Protect Workers, Property Owners From Endangered Species Act Abuses

President Trump campaigned on a promise to repeal 70% of federal regulations, eliminating red tape to promote job growth and economic development Any regulatory reform effort should initially focus on the low-hanging fruit — those regulations which are needlessly costly and counterproductive Based on that, regulatory abuses under the Endangered Species Act should be the first scrutinized

The Endangered Species Act, thanks to its crippling “take” prohibition, has been incredibly disruptive to rural communities, including many of those that supported Trump For decades, that statute has encouraged environmental special interests to push for ever more species to be listed, to shut down economic activity they dislike And, although countless jobs have

Read more