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Delegation Wants to Dig Into Science Behind Earthworm Debate

Palouse Wheat Growers Affected by Scientific Findings, Potential Protections

September 21, 2010

Washington, DC – Idahoans deserve more time to comment on the science review process regarding an Idaho earthworm that could affect Palouse wheat growers and their neighbors, says Idaho’s Congressional Delegation. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing the science and the potential for increased protection for the giant Palouse earthworm. The worm has been rarely seen over the past century but could rely on habitat now used in agricultural production.

Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Congressman Walt Minnick wrote Dr. Rowan Gould, Acting Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, seeking to extend the comment period on a potential listing to October 20th. The comment period closed Monday.

“Many Idahoans hope to have an opportunity for their voices to be heard before USFWS makes a decision on the species’ status,” wrote the Idaho Delegation members. “As such, we request an extension of the comment period from 60 days to 90 days.”

“The IGPA appreciates the efforts of Idaho’s Congressional Delegation to extend the comment deadline regarding status review of the Giant Palouse Earthworm.” said Travis Jones, executive director of the Idaho Grain Producers Association based in Boise. “Agriculture and the Palouse have been synonymous for over a hundred years. Allowing sufficient time to obtain adequate and accurate scientific information in this process is a top priority to achieve credible results."