August 15, 2014

Hearing set for gopher frog challenge

By M. Reed Hopper Senior Attorney

In 2013, on behalf of Markle Interests, LLC, we filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service challenging the agency’s over-board designation of “critical habitat” for the dusky gopher frog in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Among other things, the Service designated over 1500 acres of private land as “critical habitat” that is unoccupied by the gopher frog and unsuitable as habitat. To our knowledge, this is the first time the Service has set aside private property for conservation of a species that is both unusable by and inaccessible to the species. Under the Service’s expansive interpretation of the Endangered Species Act, the agency may regulate any land it believes may someday be useful in conservation or recovery efforts. This interpretation exceeds federal statutory and constitutional authority and suggests that no property is safe from the grasping hands of overzealous bureaucrats bent on federalizing private property.

On Wednesday, August 20, at 10:am, we will argue the case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans, LA.

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Markle v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

In 2012, government bureaucrats designated more than 1,500 acres of privately owned land in Louisiana as a “critical habitat” for the federally-protected dusky gopher frog. Regardless of the fact the frog neither lives anywhere in the state nor could live there, the critical habitat designation makes the land off-limits for all of the property owners including Ed Poitevent and his business, Markle Interests, and the Weyerhaeuser Company. On January 22, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear a challenge to this blatant abuse of the Endangered Species Act. PLF represents the Poitevent family and related businesses, and will represent their interests before the Court.

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