Magazine article Insight on the News

Protective Laws Bug Texas Landowner

Magazine article Insight on the News

Protective Laws Bug Texas Landowner

Article excerpt

A lawsuit filed in Austin, Texas, contends that the federal government has gone too far in declaring certain cave bugs protected under the Endangered Species Act, or ESA. A landowner is challenging the law under the commerce clause of the Constitution, which specifies that federal laws may apply only to issues involving interstate trade.

The case is interesting if only as a challenge to bureaucratic creativity. When laws related to wetlands similarly were challenged, the feds came up with the theory that, since birds travel interstate and sometimes stop at wetlands and bird watchers spend money on equipment to watch the border-crossing birds, then the feds have jurisdiction over all wetlands in the United States under the commerce clause. Sure, it sounds crazy, but courts appear to have bought it.

As for the Austin lawsuit, the bugs that inhabit the site are holding up development of a 215-acre parcel near that city with an estimated property value of $60 million. …

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