Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Environmentalists sue over freeze on protections for rusty-patched bumblebee

Rusty-patched bumblebee (Rich Hatfield, Reuters )
The Natural Resources Defense Council has filed a lawsuit against the Interior Department and the Fish and Wildlife Service it oversees "for delaying protections for the rusty patch bumblebee from Feb. 10 until at least mid-March without allowing public comment or hearings," Darryl Fears reports for The Washington Post. The bee, which has lost nearly 90 percent of its population since the 1990s, was named endangered on Jan. 11 by Fish and Wildlife, but the Trump administration imposed a regulatory freeze before the status went into effect.

NRDC said in a statement: “The Trump administration broke the law by blocking the rusty patched bumblebee from the endangered species list. The science is clear—this species is headed toward extinction, and soon. There is no legitimate reason to delay federal protections for this bee. Freezing protections for the rusty patched bumblebee without public notice and comment flies in the face of the democratic process.”

Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift "said the agency 'is working to review this regulation as expeditiously as possible and expects to issue further guidance on the effective date … shortly,'" Fears writes.

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