Appeals Court to Hear Utah Endangered Species Suit
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A court battle over a Utah prairie dog ruling that activists say could undermine the Endangered Species Act is set to come before a federal appeals court in Denver on Monday.
The hearing comes after a judge in Utah struck down endangered species protections for the small, burrowing animals that residents say are taking over the southern Utah town of Cedar City, burrowing into cemeteries, airports and backyards. U.S. District Judge Dee Benson decided in November that the Commerce Clause doesn't allow the federal government to regulate animals found in only one state.
But lawyers for the federal government and animal rights groups say the ruling could weaken protections for animals all over the country because the majority of endangered species are only found in a single state. On the other side are 10 states who have stepped in to support the decision.