First U.S. Bumblebee Officially Listed as Endangered

Darryl Fears | The Washington Post -- 

The rusty patched bumblebee’s path to the endangered list was as up and down as the way it flies.

After a years-long run-up to a determination early this year that it was eligible for the list, and a month-long delay for a newly required review by the Trump administration, the rusty patched on Tuesday became the first bumblebee — and the first bee overall in the continental United States — to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

As a result, the Natural Resources Defense Council said it could pull a lawsuit filed last month to challenge the delay. That suit could be replaced by another from a coalition of oil, housing developers, farm and energy lobbies that petitioned the Interior Department for a year-long delay in implementing the bee’s status.

Caught between warring conservationists and industry, the Interior Department walked a fine line in its announcement about the troubled bee’s new protection. “The department will work with stakeholders to ensure collaborative conservation among landowners, farmers, industry and developers.”

But is there common ground?

The American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Cotton Council of America and two other groups described the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s determination under the Obama administration as a rush to judgment executed shortly before President Trump took over.

“The implications of this hasty listing decision are difficult to overstate,” their petition says. They called it one of the most significant in decades in terms of its scope because of the bee’s enormous range — 13 states, including Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

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