The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sued the Trump administration Tuesday for illegally suspending the rule to put the rusty patched bumble bee on the endangered species list. The rusty patched bumble bee has lost approximately 90 percent of its range in the past 20 years. It is the first bumble bee ever listed under the Endangered Species Act.
"The Trump administration broke the law by blocking the rusty patched bumble bee from the endangered species list," Rebecca Riley, senior attorney with the NRDC, said. "The science is clear—this species is headed toward extinction and soon. There is no legitimate reason to delay federal protections for this bee. In this case, the decision to freeze protections for the rusty patched bumble bee without public notice and comment violates the law."
In the case filed in the U.S. District Court in New York City, NRDC asks the court to stop the Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from implementing and enforcing the bumble bee delay order. The White House instructed agencies to withdraw or freeze a broad array of rules issued by the Obama administration to protect public health and the environment.
The suit claims the agencies broke the law by freezing the bumble bee's endangered species listing without public notice or an opportunity for comment. In its complaint, NRDC contends the agencies cannot suspend the listing because the rule was final when published in the Federal Register.
This is the third lawsuit NRDC has filed against the Trump administration for its attacks on regulation. In response to the same regulatory freeze directive, NRDC is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for illegally rescinding a rule that would protect the public from more than five tons of mercury discharges each year. And last week, NRDC joined Public Citizen and Communications Workers of America in seeking to block a Jan. 30 executive order requiring agencies to repeal two existing regulations for each new regulation it puts in place.