The disappearing rusty patched bumble bee won a victory today when the Trump Administration reversed course and listed the bee as endangered after having frozen the listing a few weeks ago.
“The Trump administration reversed course and listed the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species just in the nick of time. Federal protections may be the only thing standing between the bumble bee and extinction,” said Rebecca Riley, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service imposed the “freeze” on the bumble bee’s listing last month, just one day before federal protections were set to take effect. The delay stems from a January 20th White House memo instructing agencies to withdraw or freeze a broad array of rules issued by the Obama administration to protect public health and the environment. Agricultural trade groups, and even the American Petroleum Institute, had petitioned the agency to extend the freeze through January, 2018.
NRDC filed a lawsuit in federal court on February 14—four days after the freeze took effect—asking the court to stop the Department of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from violating the law by freezing the bumble bee’s listing. NRDC is currently evaluating next steps.
The rusty patched bumble bee has lost almost 90 percent of its range in the past 20 years. It is the first bumble bee ever listed under the Endangered Species Act.
- NRDC Sues Trump Administration for Suspending Protections for Endangered Bumble Bee (Feb. 14, 2017)
- Rusty Patched Bumble Bee May Not Survive Trump Executive Order (Feb. 9, 2017)
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Guidance on Endangered Species Act Implementation
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.