Earlier this month, the US Fish and Wildlife Service denied protection under the Endangered Species Act to the giant Palouse earthworm. I can't describe the linkurl:Driloleirus americanus;http://www.ag.uidaho.edu/news/Photos/giantPalouseearthworm/smoot%20p%205%20sp%202%20ventral.jpg any better than "worm defender" Steve Paulson did in the High Country News linkurl:last year: ;http://www.hcn.org/servlets/hcn.Article?article_id=16643 ''What kid wouldn't want to play with a 3-foot-long, lily-smelling, soft pink worm that spits?'' Paulson and a number of others linkurl:petitioned;http://www.palouseprairie.org/invertebrates/Driloleirus_americanus_petition_a.pdf the Fish and Wildlife Service to list the worm as endangered last year, and in August they linkurl:threatened to sue the agency;http://www.palouseprairie.org/invertebrates/GiantPalouseEarthwormNOI.pdf if it didn't make a decision. On October 9, the agency linkurl:denied the petition. ;http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/e7-19595.pdf They wrote, in part, that ''while the Palouse prairie has experienced a dramatic conversion of native habitat to agricultural practices, information linking the effect agricultural practices that utilize chemicals and result in soil compaction and composition has had on the earthworm is currently nonexistent. In addition, the Service...

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