The Supreme Court heard arguments about whether or not private property can be designated critical habitat for an endangered species that doesn’t live there. In 2012, US Fish and Wildlife labeled 1,500 acres of Louisiana forestland as critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog. Although the amphibian no longer lives there, it could do so if certain ponds were restored to their original conditions. Weyerhaeuser, which leases the forestland from New Orleans resident Edward
Poitevent and his family, protested the designation and the landscape changes needed to sustain the frog. The justices appeared to be divided, and a 4-4 split would uphold the lower court’s ruling in favor of Fish and Wildlife.
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