Supreme Court gives landowners small victory in fight against wildlife officials
WASHINGTON - A lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is being sent back to a lower court after a unanimous ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The lawsuit came out of St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.
According to a release from the Pacific Legal Foundation, in Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the justices agreed that federal regulators "overstepped" their authority when they declared 1,500 acres of land as critical habitat for the Dusky Gopher Frog which can't survive there.
Edward Poitevent and his family own nearly 95 percent of the land in question, and were the parties in the case that was argued before the Supreme Court on October 1. The ruling was handed down Tuesday.
“This was a grossly unfair and inappropriate taking of private land for no purpose, no benefit to the frog, and without any reason or common sense behind it,” Poitevent said. “But when you’re in for the fight of your life, you don’t give up. It’s astounding to find out the highest court in the land has not only your back but the backs of all American landowners.”
According to CNN, the ruling is a loss for those seeking to protect the frog as well as the Trump administration which supported the agency's action.
"The frog experts have made it clear that the habitat in Louisiana needs to be protected if the frog is going to survive," Collette Adkins of the Center for Biological Diversity told CNN.
Adkins added that the frog historically lived in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi but there are currently only about 100 frogs alive in Mississippi due primarily to habitat loss. The frog has not lived in the Louisiana land for decades, but it contains breeding sites and closely clustered ephemeral ponds