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Supreme Court Won't Hear Suit Over Prairie Dog Protections

Prairie dogs inhabiting southern Utah.  The supreme court won't hear a suit over prairie dog protections.
Prairie Dogs could be at risk if their protections are rolled back.

The U.S. Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from Utah property owners challenging endangered-species protections for prairie dogs, but the plaintiffs say the case has nevertheless made a mark as the Trump administration moves to loosen the contested rules.

Lawyers for the Cedar City residents say their lawsuit was a key driver of the new federal plan that would make it easier to remove or kill prairie dogs that they said were overrunning their town.

Attorney Jonathan Wood said they're disappointed the Supreme Court declined to hear the case on Monday, but they're heartened by the new plan from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Animal activists, though, say the administration's proposed rollback of protections for the threatened Utah prairie dogs would be a death warrant for animals considered key to the ecosystem.