May 22 2012
One Week Before Deadline, Utah Senator Asks Utahns to Submit Feedback to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chairman of the Senate Western Caucus’ Public Lands Subcommittee, today urged Utahns to submit their support for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) ruling that would permit the removal of prairie dogs across Utah. Currently, the USFWS is permitted to remove prairie dogs only from agricultural areas, but the proposed 4(d) ruling announced in April would allow for their removal where the species creates serious human safety hazards or disturbs the sanctity of significant cultural or human burial sites, as has been the case at Paragonah Cemetery in Iron County. The public comment period ends one week from today, on Tuesday, May 29. Utahns can voice their support for the rule with the USFWS electronically HERE.
“We’ve come a long way to get to this point and it’s absolutely critical for Utahns to voice their opinion about this proposal to the USFWS,” Hatch said. “Prairie dogs are digging holes in airport runways and desecrating the graves of loved ones. This rule is an important step in getting this public safety threat under control. This is an important opportunity for Utahns to influence this process by submitting their comments and suggestions.”
In March, Hatch secured a commitment from top officials at the USFWS to visit Utah and see the damage prairie dogs are causing firsthand, which led to USFWS announcing the 4(d) proposal weeks later. The proposed ruling echoes many of the same solutions included in legislation Hatch introduced with the rest of the Utah Congressional Delegation last fall. To read more about the bill, click HERE.
“When members of the Iron County Commission were notified of the proposed rule, they expressed deep appreciation to Senator Hatch for his efforts in carrying forward this important issue,” Iron County Commissioner, Dale Brinkerhoff said. “Iron county commissioners are grateful for Senator Hatch’s efforts to preserve personal property rights, and to expand the 4(d) rule to further cover agricultural lands and properties which are effected by the prairie dogs. The work Senator Hatch is doing to bring more control of the prairie dogs to the county level is appreciated, and it’s important for Utahns to voice their support of the USFWS proposal.”