Landowner Losing $36 Million Because the Government Wants to Protect…Frogs

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Top Tier Gear USA

gopher_frog

Cute little fella, isn’t he?

That’s a Dusky Gopher Frog. In 2012, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature listed the species as one of the top 100 most endangered in the world. Also known as the Mississippi gopher frog, the amphibian was historically found across parts of southwest Alabama, southern Mississippi and southeast Louisiana.

Currently, the entire population of these frogs is estimated to be around 250, and they live in only three ponds, all in south Mississippi: Glen’s Pond, Mike’s Pond and McCoy’s Pond.

The government wants to protect the species – and is willing (and able) to prevent landowners from developing land that might be hospitable to the frogs.

Edward Poitevent owns land north of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana. He wants to build offices and homes on the land, and could provide safe high-ground housing to people who would like to move away from areas that were flooded during Hurricane Katrina.

He can’t move forward with his development plans, though, because the government decided 1,500 acres of his property should become a preservation area for the frogs.

None of the frogs currently live on Poitevant’s land – they all live in Mississippi. In an interview, Poitevent told John Stossel that the Fish and Wildlife Service certified that the frog has not been seen in the state of Louisiana since 1967. Pointevant’s land currently has no ponds or the longleaf pine tree the species needs to survive.

The species hasn’t been seen in the state in over 50 years, but that isn’t stopping the government from making Poitevent’s privately owned land a critical habitat for the creatures. The land has been in his family for generations; Poitevent’s great grandfather started a lumber company after the Civil War and the property remains an actively managed tree farm.

At a hearing in 2012, several members of the Mississippi Tea Party spoke out against the government’s plan for Poitevent’s land. They called the Endangered Species Act unconstitutional, accused the government of taking people’s property without proper justification and expressed outrage about the amount of taxpayer money being spent to save a frog.

When Stossel contacted Fish and Wildlife Service officials for information, they were “not available” to talk with him. He notes that they posted a video on YouTube that says they work “with” landowners: “The Service has many voluntary partnership-based programs that can provide technical and financial assistance to manage species.”

Fantastic – but the government’s handbook on how to work with them is a whopping 315 pages long and is riddled with legalese.

Stossel also notes that landowners, in response to the schemes of environmentalists, tell each other, “If you find an endangered species, shoot, shovel and shut up!” He points out that the suggestion is mostly a joke, but it does happen and is an example of how government regulations can backfire.

“The Endangered Species Act was another noble idea. We all want to save polar bears. But now the bureaucrats make it almost impossible for some people to improve their own property. Industry and technology, not regulations, are humanity’s greatest contribution to the environment. Leave people their freedom, and they come up with new, smarter, more efficient and thus cleaner ways of doing things. Stifling that process with regulation isn’t ‘progressive,'” said Stossel.

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Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.

Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”

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