It seems like there aren’t many animals that the Trump administration, in blissful partnership with Republicans in Congress, is interested in keeping around. (Weird that the lump who spawned these guys would lack appropriate respect for the natural world!) Republicans in Congress have been trying to gut the popular Endangered Species Act—passed by Nixon—for years, and might finally have their chance; also, for some reason, animal cruelty information was recently removed from the USDA website. Now, the Natural Resources Defense Council has sued the Trump administration for delaying action to protect the endangered rusty patched bumble bee.
The rusty patched bumble bee, an important pollinator, was classified as endangered in the U.S. in January, the first type of U.S. bee to receive that designation; it has decreased 90 percent in population and range in the last 20 years due to habitat loss, climate change, farming techniques, pathogens and exposure to pesticides. From the Huffington Post report:
Plans to protect the bee would have taken effect on Friday, but a sweeping executive order by President Donald Trump that imposed a 60-day waiting period on new regulations kept the conservation measures from taking effect. The NRDC argued that the Administrative Procedure Act required wildlife officials to give public notice and an opportunity to hear comments before delaying actions to protect the bee.
The NRDC’s complaint classified the species as “currently facing an imminent risk of extinction,” but who cares about that, I guess, when weighed against the monetary interests of farm groups and oil and gas entities? Last week, Mother Jones noted that were this endangered designation to go into effect, the use of neonicotinoids, a controversial pesticide popular with farmers that’s been implicated in the decline of pollinators (and banned in the EU for that reason), might be restricted—and that EPA transition team leader Myron Ebell has been actively involved in industry-funded downplaying of the impacts of chemicals.
NRDC senior attorney Rebecca Riley told CBS News: “This bee is one of the most critically endangered species in the country and we can save it—but not if the White House stands in the way.”