Slickspot gets fourth shot 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will consider listing slickspot peppergrass, a flowering plant that appears in the desert south of Boise, for the fourth time after losing another lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court in Boise.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mikel Williams ordered the agency to reconsider slickspot for the threatened or endangered species list, a process that the agency started in 2000. Williams wrote in his ruling that the January 2007 decision to not list Slickspot as threatened was not based on the best available science.

But Boise attorney Todd Tucci, who argued the case for Western Watersheds Project, said it's not really about science—two science panels had recommended the listing.

"The bottleneck is not the science here," Tucci says. "The bottleneck is the political interference and the political corruption."

A spokesperson for Fish and Wildlife said the agency had just received the ruling and has not determined how it will proceed. Tucci said that a new decision should be attainable in about 90 days; all the agency has to do is convene a panel of six or seven scientists for a day long meeting. But Tucci said he has spoken to attorneys for the service and is trying to find some middle ground for the timeline.

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