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Rancho Viejo, Ltd. Liab. Corp. v. Norton

Citation: 32 ELR 20112
No. No. 1:00-CV-02798 (ESH), (D.D.C., 08/20/2001)

The court holds that the Endangered Species Act's (ESA's) application to private lands in order to protect an endangered species that lives entirely within one state does not violate the U.S. Commerce Clause. The court first holds that the regulated activity in question—construction of a housing development—is economic in nature. Additionally, regulation of the endangered species itself is economic in nature because extinction of a species would substantially affect interstate commerce by foreclosing any possibility of several types of commercial activity. Further, the ESA is explicitly connected to interstate commerce. Moreover, legislative history contains express congressional findings regarding the ESA's effect on interstate commerce. Finally, the relationship between the regulated activity and interstate commerce is not attenuated.

[Counsel not available at this printing.]