Trump's Fish and Wildlife Service sued for not declaring a bumblebee species as extinct
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) – a branch of the Interior Department – had made countless proposals to bring the rusty patched bumblebee under federal safeguards since September, and finally published their plans to do earlier this year.
However, the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) claimed the rule which was set to designate the rusty patched bumblebee as an endangered species last Friday has been tactically delayed until March 21.
Within their lawsuit, the NRDC argued US wildlife managers had violated the law by abruptly suspending the bumblebee listing without public notice or comment. The environmental group claims rules technically become final when they are published in the Federal Register.
The lawsuit seeks to have a judge declare that the US Fish and Wildlife Service acted unlawfully and to order the agency to rescind the rule delaying the bumble bee's listing.
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Rebecca Riley, a senior attorney for the NRDC said in a statement: “The science is clear – this species is headed toward extinction, and soon. There is no legitimate reason to delay federal protections.”
According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, bumblebees pollinate approximately one third of US crops including blueberries and tomatoes.
Once widely found in the upper Midwest and Northeastern United States, the rusty patched bumblebee’s population has sharply declined by more than 90 per cent since the late 1990s due to disease, pesticides, climate change and habitat loss, according to wildlife officials.
The rusty patch bees reportedly pollinate blueberries
Shortly after the NRDC initially attacked the US Fish and Wildlife Service, a spokesperson from the FWS claimed that the delay will not cause the species’ extinction.
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Tom Melius quickly hit back and said: “Our top priority is to act quickly to prevent extinction of the rusty patched bumblebee.
“Listing the bee as endangered will help us mobilise partners and focus resources on finding ways right now to stop the decline.
A rusty patched bumblebee also known a Bombus affinis
“Pollinators are small but mighty parts of the natural mechanism that sustains us and our world. Without them, our forests, parks, meadows and shrub-lands, and the abundant, vibrant life they support, cannot survive, and our crops require laborious, costly pollination by hand.”
The insect is one of 47 varieties of native bumble bees in the United States and Canada, where more than one quarter of bees face the risk of extinction, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
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