Press Release

Stossel covers PLF’s victory over ESA prairie dog regs

Sacramento, CA;  November 17, 2014: This week’s installment of “Stossel with John Stossel” on Fox Business Network will highlight Pacific Legal Foundation’s landmark court victory for the people of Cedar City, in Southwest Utah, who have been banned by federal Endangered Species Act regulations from trying to deal with the out-of-control prairie dog population.

Recently, in a historic decision that recognizes clear constitutional limits on Endangered Species Act regulations, U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson sided with PLF’s lawsuit and held that the federal government may not prevent 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.

Cedar City has been overrun by Utah prairie dogs, a species that numbers over 40,000 but is still listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.  PLF represents property owners who have come together as People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners (PETPO).  They have sued because ESA regulations for the prairie dog block them from making normal use of their property, maintaining their gardens, parks, and city cemetery, and even protecting the airport’s runways from rodent-caused potholes.

The Stossel episode will feature PLF Staff Attorney Jonathan Wood, along with Cedar City small businessman Bruce Hughes, one of PLF’s clients in the case.  Hughes has been unable to develop a small parcel he bought as a retirement investment, because prairie dogs moved onto the land, so federal regulations blocked any use of it.

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

Jonathan Wood

Attorney

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 … ›

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Damien M. Schiff

Senior Attorney

Currently a Senior Attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, Damien joined PLF in 2005.  His practice has focused on federal and state environmental and land-use issues.  Damien was counsel of record … ›

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Case Commentary

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A postscript to the Utah prairie dog case: federal agency embraces state-led reform

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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

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