Supreme Court limits federal power to control private land.

Rolling back Obongo little by little.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday handed a victory to timber company Weyerhaeuser Co and other landowners seeking to limit the federal government’s power to designate private land as protected habitat for endangered species in a property rights case involving a warty amphibian called the dusky gopher frog.

The court, in a 8-0 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, threw out a 2016 ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that had favored the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, finding the lower court gave the government too much leeway. The justices sent the case back to the 5th Circuit lower to reconsider.

In 2012, the agency decided to include private land where the frog does not currently live as critical habitat, potentially putting restrictions on future development opportunities. Weyerhaeuser harvests timber on the Louisiana land in question and was backed in the case by fellow landowners and business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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