A Louisiana family is facing $34 million worth of regulations if they continue developing a plot of land after federal officials declared it “critical habitat” for the dusky gopher frog.
Federal regulators are attempting to use the Endangered Species Act to stop commercial logging on the 1,650 acre piece of private land to create a sanctuary that might support the frog. The dusky gopher frog, however, has not been reported on the land or even in the wild areas of the state for 50 years, New Orleans’ The Times Picayune reports.
The Poitevent family, which has owned the land for more than a century, has decades worth of timber leases on the area, putting off any chance the land may be turned into useable habitat for years.
The Poitevent family has filed a series of appeals for courts to overrule the decision. Despite one judge calling the critical habitat designation “remarkably intrusive” and a prime example of “governmental insensitivity to private property,” no court has overruled the Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) designation.
“I guess I was naive,” Edward Poitevent II told The Advocate. “I thought surely there must be a mistake, and the government will correct its error.”
The Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit law firm representing the Poitevent family, wants the case brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, according to The Advocate.
Environmentalists estimate that only about 100 dusky gopher frogs exist today. Environmental groups have championed the frogs and supported the court’s decisions so far.
“These endangered frogs … desperately need room to recover,” Center for Biological Diversity attorney Collette Adkins told The Times Picayune.
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