EPA to hear prairie dog concerns

A news release from the Ag Department: 

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring hopes a Thursday visit by federal officials will give them a better understanding about the problems faced by livestock producers in controlling prairie dogs.

“I have invited Environmental Protection Agency personnel to come to North Dakota and see firsthand that prairie dogs are more than just a nuisance,” Goehring said in a statement. “Uncontrolled, these animals can severely damage grazing land, leaving it open for erosion and weed infestation.”

The EPA officials will visit ranches and other sites populated by prairie dogs in Sioux County and will have the opportunity to meet with landowners and producers and with state and federal wildlife officials to hear their concerns.

“The EPA should be commended both for keeping an open mind on this issue and for coming here to see the situation for themselves,” Goehring said in the statement. “There have been efforts to list black-tailed prairie dogs as an endangered species, and there is considerable pressure to restrict and even ban rodenticides used to control them.”