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.