“Prairie dogs are posing a significant threat to public safety in Southern Utah, and this commitment from the Fish and Wildlife Service is a big step in our fight to protect Utahns from this growing threat,” Hatch said. “I saw the damage being done by these animals firsthand last summer. They’re digging holes in airport runways and desecrating the graves of loved ones. I appreciate the Fish and Wildlife Service committing to work with us and we’ll continue to push forward until we solve this problem. Getting prairie dogs of the airport and the cemetery will be an important step in the larger issue of removing prairie dogs from all private property in Iron County.”
“We’re very happy with Senator Hatch’s efforts for pushing the Fish and Wildlife Service to come out and see the damage being done firsthand. It’s high time the Fish and Wildlife Service do what they said they were going to do, and along with Senator Hatch, we’re going to hold their feet to the fire,” said Iron County Commissioners Alma Adams, Dale Brinkerhoff, and Dan Webster.
This past fall, the Utah Congressional Delegation joined together to introduce the Protecting Public Safety and Sacred Sites from the Utah Prairie Dog Act, which will direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take much-needed steps to protect Utahns from the hazards posed to public safety from prairie dogs. The legislative route is a long one and Hatch believes that the visit from Washington officials will prompt the agency to expedite the necessary changes in their rules without needing to wait for his bill to pass both houses of Congress and be signed by the president.
The USFWS agreed with Hatch that the visit should be a top priority and will schedule the visit for this spring.