Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, September 26, 2018

Contact: Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495, ngreenwald@biologicaldiversity.org

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Habitat Protections for Endangered Frog

Case Would Be Brett Kavanaugh's First If Confirmed

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments at 10 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 1 in a case challenging habitat protections in Mississippi and Louisiana for endangered dusky gopher frogs. The Center for Biological Diversity is a defendant.

“We’re hopeful the justices will ultimately uphold this imperiled frog’s habitat protections,” said Collette Adkins, who represents the Center before the Supreme Court. “You can’t conserve endangered animals if you don’t protect their homes and the places they need to survive and recover. This case’s outcome could mean the difference between recovery and extinction for many of our nation’s rarest animals.”

This would be Brett Kavanaugh’s first case as a Supreme Court justice if he is confirmed.

What: Hearing in Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Fish and Wildlife Service, a challenge to designation of “critical habitat” for an endangered frog under the Endangered Species Act.

When: Monday, Oct. 1, at 10 a.m. Eastern (the first case of the Court’s new session)

Where: Supreme Court of the United States, 1 First Street NE, Washington, D.C.

Media Availability: Representatives from the Center, including a Center attorney fighting for the frog’s protections, will be available before and after the hearing.

Background
The U.S. Supreme Court in January granted a “petition for certiorari,” filed by the timber company Weyerhaeuser, to reconsider a June 2016 decision from a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a 2012 rule establishing the frog’s protections.

That rule protects 6,477 acres of critical habitat in Mississippi and Louisiana, including 1,600 privately owned acres of unoccupied frog habitat in St. Tammany Parish, La. The Service estimated economic impacts from the designation as ranging from zero to $34 million. Owners of the St. Tammany Parish land would experience no economic impacts if they continue to use the land for timber production.

The panel held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reasonably concluded that the St. Tammany Parish land is essential for recovery of the frogs, which are now confined to just three sites in southern Mississippi — with only one site regularly showing frog reproduction.

Legal action and advocacy by the Center prompted the 2012 critical habitat designation at issue in the Supreme Court case, as well as the 2001 listing and 2015 recovery plan for the frogs. The Center, along with the Gulf Restoration Network, is a party in the litigation but will not be providing argument before the Supreme Court.

Dusky gopher frog

Dusky gopher frog courtesy USFWS. This image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

www.biologicaldiversity.org

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