Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Conqueror Worm

That the play is the tragedy, "Man,"
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.

-Edgar Allan Poe, The Conqueror Worm

I was afraid I saw this coming. From today's Daily News:

It’s 3 feet long, pinkish in color, smells like a lily and must be saved from extinction, conservationists said in asking the federal government to protect the Giant Palouse Earthworm under the Endangered Species Act.


It’s too soon to know if anyone will object to the listing, or what lands might be considered critical habitat, Paulson said. He suspected that only lands that have not been developed, which represent only a fraction of 1 percent of the Palouse prairie, would be preserved as habitat.

The worm was first found in 1897, and the species has always been elusive. It can burrow down 15 feet. There have been only three reported sightings since 1987.
Residents of Whitman County had better hope that I-933, the Property Fairness Initiative, passes in November. Wait until your land is declared a "critical habitat" for the Giant Palouse Earthworm. Don't think it can't happen. Some examples from the Property Fairness website:
Stevens County has been ordered by a state board to regulate property owners on behalf of two bird species that are neither threatened nor endangered.

Ferry County has been ordered by a state board to regulate to protect habitat for caribou, which have never been sighted in Ferry County. In a dissenting opinion, after the state Supreme Court upheld the state board action, Justice Jim Johnson sarcastically pointed out that Bigfoot has been seen more times in Ferry County than Caribou.

In Clark County, officials are discussing buffers and habitat for banana slugs.

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