Trump Administration Lifts Freeze on Endangered Bumble Bee

Allows Federal Protections to Take Effect

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.

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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 and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​

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