Only an Actual Habitat Can Be Designated a ‘Critical’ Habitat

By: Michael M. Berger
– Daily Journal

“In one of its early decisions this term, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to give us all a lesson in the proper use of the English language. It did so in the context of the Endangered Species Act, which directs the Secretary of the Interior, upon listing a species as ‘endangered,’ to also designate ‘critical habitat’ for the species. The point of the latter is to guard some areas that are deemed critical to the survival of the species. The species before the court was an amphibian called the dusky gopher frog. Existing frog populations were concentrated in coastal Mississippi. The critical habitat designated in this case to preserve the species was in Louisiana—in an area inhabited by none of the frogs.”

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