Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mixed Econuts: No Growth Worms

I love this quote: "The giant Palouse earthworm and the Palouse habitats that it depends on are on the edge of extinction and will be lost forever if we don't act soon."

Is it any wonder people can't take the filthy, treehugging econuts seriously? Where is the science? We don't know where the giant Palouse earthworm's habitat is. We don't know how many there even are. They could all already be dead or there could be millions. BUT WE MUST ACT NOW AND HALT ALL DIGGING OR THEY WILL BE GONE FOREVER!!!! Everyone can see that this is a embarrasingly transparent attempt by the dopey local hippies to halt growth on the Palouse.

From last Friday's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:

Environmental group files suit to save earthworm

Group suing U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over decision not to list the giant Palouse earthworm as endangered

The battle over the giant Palouse earthworm is heading to the courts after an environmental group filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its October decision to deny protection for the worm under the Endangered Species Act.

The environmental group - which includes the Palouse Prairie Foundation, the Palouse Audubon Society, Friends of the Clearwater, the Center for Biological Diversity and three private citizens - sought protection for the earthworm in August, claiming that the threat of destruction and modification of habitat, disease and predation, the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms, and other natural and man-made factors make the earthworm a prime candidate for the Endangered Species List.

In its denial, the Fish and Wildlife Service indicated the group's petition did not contain enough information regarding the range, distribution and population size, and that data on the earthworm was too limited to add it to the endangered list. There also was not enough data to conclude the potential threats discussed in the petition posed a risk to the existence of the species now or in the future.

In a news release issued Thursday, Friends of the Clearwater board member Steve Paulson stated there may not be much time to waste if the earthworm is to be saved.

"The giant Palouse earthworm and the Palouse habitats that it depends on are on the edge of extinction and will be lost forever if we don't act soon," Paulson stated. "The earthworm needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act to survive."

The giant Palouse earthworm is the largest and longest-lived earthworm on the continent and can reach a length of three feet. It has a pinkish-white color and is reported to have a flowery smell. It lives in permanent burrows as deep as 15 feet and has been reported to spit at attackers.

The earthworm's only known habitat is the grassland of the Palouse in west-central Idaho and southeastern Washington, much of which has been destroyed by agricultural development, invasive species and pesticides.

The earthworm was described as very abundant in 1897, but has not been sighted since May 2005. Before that, it had not been sighted since 1988.

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