Apr 26 2012
Utah Senator Has Been Fighting for a New Proposal to Improve Public Safety and Protect Private Property Rights
U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today applauded a new proposal to permit the removal of prairie dogs across Utah as an important step to address the growing public safety threat posed to the southern part of the state. In March, Hatch secured a commitment from top officials at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to visit Utah and see the damage being done firsthand, and today’s announcement comes just weeks after USFWS officials toured several sites in Iron County. The proposed rule was announced in the Federal Register today and will give concerned citizens affected by prairie dogs more rights and flexibility and how to deal with them. Currently, the USFWS is permitted to remove prairie dogs only from agricultural areas.
“I’m glad we were finally able to get the Fish and Wildlife Service officials visit southern Utah to see the damage and significant public safety threats firsthand, and it’s clear that the recent visit paid off tremendously,” Hatch said. “Prairie dogs are causing substantial public safety threats and desecrating the graves of loved ones. It’s important for Utahns to reach out to the Fish and Wildlife Service to submit comments during the comment period for this proposal. Today’s announcement is another important step, but we still have a lot of work do to. We’re not going to let up until we have a long-term solution that protects the rights of property owners.”
The proposed 4(d) rule, which is currently open for public comment, would allow for the removal of prairie dogs in Utah 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. The proposal sets forth certain criteria in order for removal to be permitted, and echoes many of the same solutions included in legislation the Utah Congressional Delegation introduced 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.”
The proposal can be found HERE. Utahns can express their support for or concerns regarding the proposal through the public comment period, which closes on May 29, 2012.
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