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Bishop Statement on Regulation of Utah Prairie Dogs Under the Endangered Species Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 22, 2017 -

Today, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulation of Utah prairie dogs on non-federal lands. Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:

“Utahns have proven they can maintain prairie dogs. The only thing impeding the state is federal meddling. I appreciate Director Sheehan’s commitment to work with the state on a successful partnership in light of this ill-founded ruling. Species conservation determined by federal judges is always bad policy. This decision is another reminder of the inherent flaws with the Endangered Species Act and the need for reform.”


The ruling overturns a 2014 decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah to remove federal ESA protection for the species on non-federal lands and transfer management to the State of Utah. The species is now regulated under ESA across federal, state and local land ownerships.

In 1973, the Utah prairie dog was listed as endangered and, after significant population growth, it was down-listed to threatened in 1984. Even accounting for the failure of the federal government to obtain full surveys of the species habitat, population trends demonstrate that the number of Utah prairie dogs has increased and that the population is stable. The species is found only in the State of Utah. 

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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