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2018 National Conference of Private Forest Landowners

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2019 National Conference of Private Forest Landowners


States Ask Federal Appeals Court to Reconsider Endangered Species Act Ruling
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States Ask Federal Appeals Court to Reconsider Endangered Species Act Ruling

On August 10, 2016 fifteen states including Georiga, Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama filed a petition in support of a landowner’s request to have his case heard by the entire 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In the case of Markle vs. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Louisiana landowner is hoping to keep his 1500 forested acres from being classified as “critical habitat” to the dusky gopher frog, a species classified as endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

When land is classified as critical to the survival of an endangered species act, a landowner’s ability to make management decisions for piece of property may be curtailed. At the center of this case is that the land in question, deemed essential by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, is in Louisiana where the dusky gopher frog has not been observed since 1967.

The case has attracted the attention of landowner rights groups because many see the decision as an overreach by the agency. In a short blog posted on the Pacific Legal Foundation’s “Liberty Blog” Reed Hopper wrote of the decision, “This topsy-turvy view of the law is contrary to common sense and conflicts with statutory and constitutional law. The preservation of areas that are unsuitable as habitat provides no benefit to the species–in this case the dusky gopher frog–while undermining the landowner’s constitutionally protected property rights.”

Attorneys throughout the country who represent landowners are closely the watching the case “This case seems to be unusual because normally, you would expect that habitat that was deemed to be essential to the species would have the species already or recently on it, “says Jacob Cremer, an attorney at Stearns Weaver Miller “What the states are saying is that not only is the dusky gopher frog not found here, it would cost a significant amount of money to modify the habitat so that the frog could thrive if it ever did get here.”

The petition asks that the case be reheard by the entire appellate court. Other states signing the petition include Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming.






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