Trump just halted a federal bid to save bumblebees

The Trump administration's executive order on Federal Regulations has delayed the listing of the Rusty Patched Bumblebee as an endangered species in the United States. Because listing a bumblebee as an endangered species would extend federal protection to said bee, a federal regulation would be put in place. Because of Trump's January 20th executive order on federal regulations, a 60-day freeze was put in effect for all regulations published in the official register at the time of the order's signing.

The Rusty Batched Bumblebee is also known as Bombus affinis. Bombus affinis was the first bumblebee species to ALMOST receive Endangered Species Act protections in the history of the United States. Unfortunately, due to the "immediate regulatory freeze" put in place by Donald Trump on January 20th, the Endangered Species Act's protections have been delayed, and possibly halted altogether.

"I wanted to tell you that although populations of this bee have declined by 87 percent since the late 1990s, the government and its army of dedicated scientists are drawing up plans to snatch these buzzers out of the jaws of extinction," said Jason Bittel of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "But I cannot tell you that story―because, alas, it may no longer be true."

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) still list the Rusty Patched Bumblebee as attaining endangered species status on the 10th of February, 2017. The Fish and Wildlife Service suggested that the 87-percent decline in population took place between "the late 1990s" and the "early 2000s" and have not been reconfirmed since. As such, many of the populations of this bee the USFWS considered current in the early 2000s "may no longer persist."

It's quite likely that these bees are a lot closer to being entirely destroyed than we're aware of. "The rusty patched bumble bee declined rapidly during a time when bumble bee monitoring was largely limited to a few researchers," said a USFWS representative. "No one was aware of the rapid decline until it was well underway."

Why do we need bumblebees?

Without pollination from bees, many plants no longer produce fruits, seeds, or nuts. The loss of the bumblebee will have a devastating effect on the food chain – our food chain, the food chain on which we depend to get food and continue to live.

"The Fish and Wildlife Service made a finding, and it was that if we don't do anything now, the rusty patched bumblebee will go extinct, and it will go extinct soon," said Rebecca Riley, a senior attorney who specializes in wildlife issues for NRDC. In other words – we, humans concerned for our future on this planet, cannot afford to delay at all, whatsoever.

Riley and the NRDC are watching this delay by the Trump administration closely. The NRDC is clearly in support of the decision to make this bee an endangered species. "If the Trump administration were to come in and reverse that decision," said Riley, "it would be illegal, and we would strongly consider challenging it in court."

The creators of the video shown above as well as the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the NRDC are all in the midst of fighting for this bee. This video is a 19-minute documentary on the Rusty Patched bumblebee called "A Ghost in the Making: Searching for the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee." This tiny movie explores how this bee went from abundance to near-extinction in the course of 20 years – we'll see soon enough if Trump's distain for federal regulations extends far enough to save the bumblebees.