Court Restores Utah Prairie Dog Protections
Litigation - Article Series: from Articles Archive


Center for Biological Diversity
April 2017

prairie dogs
Image by Jim Robertson, Animals in the Wild

A win not just for prairie dogs but for endangered species across the country: The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the federal government does have authority to protect Utah prairie dogs and other endangered species occurring in a single state.

In a stinging rebuke to extreme private-property-rights advocates, a Republican judge concluded that eliminating protections for "purely intrastate species" would "leave a gaping hole" and "undercut the conservation purposes" of the Endangered Species Act.

The Center and allies submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in the case supporting protections for prairie dogs.

"We're tremendously relieved," said Noah Greenwald, our endangered species director.

"If the decision had gone the other way, iconic species like the Florida panther and southern sea otter could have lost protection."

Return to: Litigation