In July 2017, Weyerhaeuser Company, a Louisiana landowner and timber lessee, filed a Petition for a writ of certiorari asking the United States Supreme Court to overturn the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“FWS”) designation of private land in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana as “critical habitat” for the endangered dusky gopher frog. The FWS made this “critical habitat” designation under the Endangered Species Act. Weyerhaeuser Company argues that the property has not been a habitat for the gopher frog since the 1960s, the land lacks certain habitat features for the gopher frog to survive in the area, and the designation drastically reduces the value of the property by preventing certain commercial development projects. (A prior article posted on The Energy Law Blog discussing the Petitioner’s writ of certiorari is available here).
On January 22, 2018, the United States Supreme Court granted review of the Petitioner’s writ of certiorari in Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, No. 17-71. The Supreme Court will now review the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s 2-1 panel decision affirming the district court’s ruling that upheld the FWS’s “critical habitat” designation for the land in St. Tammany Parish. (A prior article posted on The Energy Law Blog discussing the Fifth Circuit’s ruling is available here). This Supreme Court case will be closely monitored by many legal scholars and attorneys because of the opportunity the Supreme Court has to revisit the Chevron deference doctrine.
A copy of the Petitioner’s writ of certiorari can be found here.
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