The U.S. Supreme Court starts a new term on Monday, Oct. 1 with two cases that home builders have been following closely.
The opening argument of the term, Weyerhaeuser v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, involves a clash between two NAHB members and the dusky gopher frog.
In 2012, the Fish and Wildlife Service designed 1,555 acres of the members’ Louisiana timberland as “unoccupied critical habitat” for the endangered frog, locking down an estimated $34 million in lost development opportunities.
The service concedes that no frogs live on the land in question – nor have any been seen or smelled anywhere in the state for more than 50 years. In fact, the only way to make the property suitable for the frog is through intensive land management practices, an imposition the FWS admits it may not force on private land owners.
“If the Federal Government can take private property for frogs that haven’t been seen on the land for 50 years then all private landowners should be concerned about government overreach.”