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SD Lawmakers Reject Prairie Dog Lawsuit Bill

February 1, 2012, 2:09 PM

PIERRE, SD - A South Dakota House committee has killed a measure that would have allowed ranchers to sue for damages if the state failed to control the population of prairie dogs.

The State Affairs Committee voted 9-4 to reject the bill after lawmakers said the state should not be sued for problems caused by federal officials.

The proposal was written in response to a recent Supreme Court ruling that said the state is immune from a lawsuit filed by ranchers who contend the state has failed to follow laws requiring the control of prairie dogs that move from public land to private land.

State officials say they did all they could to control prairie dogs near Badlands National Park, but control was limited because poisoning was not allowed on some federal land.

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