January 10, 2017 – Washington, D.C.— Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species. The native bumble bee is the first bee in the continental United States to be listed under the Endangered Species Act. Three months ago, the Obama administration designated seven species of bees in Hawaii as endangered.
Environment America and other environmental organizations delivered nearly 120,000 comments to the Fish and Wildlife Service in support of protecting the rusty patched bumble bee during the public comment period on the listing.
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Environment America’s Christy Leavitt issued the following statement:
“Environment America applauds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for taking action to protect the first bee in the continental United States. Protecting the rusty patched bumble bee and all bees is essential for our ecosystem and our food supply.
If bees go extinct, it’s simple: no bees, no food.
The rusty patched bumble bee pollinates important crops, including apples, cranberries, and alfalfa.
The rusty patched bumble bee is exactly the kind of species that needs protection under the Endangered Species Act. The native bumble bee used to be seen across the Midwest and eastern U.S. and has disappeared from 90 percent of its range in just the last 20 years. Safeguarding the rusty patched bumble bee from harmful pesticides, habitat loss and climate change not only will help this important pollinator but also will likely help other bee populations in the US.
Today’s designation of the rusty patched bumble bee adds to President Obama’s legacy of protecting America’s special landscapes and amazing species. The Obama administration has listed more than 300 species under the Endangered Species Act during the last eight years.
We look forward to the day when we see these bees once again buzzing across the eastern U.S., even across the South Lawn to pollinate the White House garden.