Share
Commentary

Property Rights and an Endangered Frog Could Be First Big Decision Under New SCOTUS Nominee

Share

A property rights case involving an endangered frog could end up being the first case heard by President Donald Trump’s pick to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

If confirmed in time, the new Supreme Court justice would hear oral arguments for Weyerhaeuser Company v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The high court is scheduled to hear the Endangered Species Act on Oct. 1.

Federal judges Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Thomas Hardiman and Raymond Kethledge are said to be the frontrunners to replace Kennedy, who announced his retirement in late June.

While most of the focus has been how potential nominees would rule on hot-button issues, like abortion and affirmative action, the new justice’s first oral arguments will be over the federal government’s authority under the ESA.

Trending:
Top German Admiral Resigns After Revealing True Thoughts on Putin

The Weyerhaeuser case presents the court with two questions: Does the Endangered Species Act prohibit the federal government from designating land where the animal in question doesn’t live as habitat necessary for its survival? And, is the federal agency’s decision to exclude lands from habitat listings due to economic impacts subject to judicial review?

FWS officials designated 1,500 acres of private lands in Louisiana as critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog, despite the amphibian not currently living on those lands.

Landowners could end up paying millions to make the land habitable for the dusky gopher frog.

The Supreme Court took up the case in January, and since amicus briefs have been filed on the case.

Do you think private lands should be considered critical habitats for endangered species?

A federal appeals court refused to rehear the challenge to FWS’s critical habitat listing in early 2017.

Environmentalists want the court to uphold the designations while property rights advocates argue designating unoccupied land as critical habitat violates federal law.

St. Tammany Parish, where the private lands are located, argued FWS’s decision would take economic decisions out of the lands of local officials and deprive local government of valuable tax revenues.

“The said property has previously been zoned for development as a Traditional Neighborhood and the designation as a ‘Critical Habitat’ will adversely effect same,” parish attorneys wrote in their amicus brief.

Critical habitat designations can keep lands off-limits to development by adding new layers of federal permitting and red tape.

Related:
Joe Biden Makes Creepy Purchase During Shopping Spree as Russia, Ukraine on Brink of War

Federal officials listed the dusky gopher frog under the ESA in 2001 in response to a petition from the environmental group the Center for Biological Diversity.

Officials said Poitevent family land is among the last known dusky gopher frog habitats in Louisiana.

A version of this article appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , ,
Share
Founded by Tucker Carlson, a 25-year veteran of print and broadcast media, and Neil Patel, former chief policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, The Daily Caller News Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit providing original investigative reporting from a team of professional reporters that operates for the public benefit.




Conversation