Interior Sec. Zinke Fumbles the Bumble – Endangered Listing for Bee

As MDN has previously chronicled, on September 22, 2016 the rogue U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published a proposed rule to list the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The rusty patched bumble bee is found in the Midwest and eastern parts of the U.S. If it gets listed, it will have SIGNIFICANT impacts on drillers and midstreamers (see “Endangered” Bumble Bee May Slow/Stop O&G Projects in Northeast). With just a few days left in Obama’s reign of terror, the Obama-influenced USFWS pulled the trigger and listed it (see USFWS Pulls the Trigger and Lists Bumble Bee as Endangered). But then a white knight rode in to town to (temporarily) save the day. The Trump Administration signed an order delaying the listing until March 21 (see Trump Administration Delays Listing Bumble Bee as Endangered). With the clock ticking, the oil and gas industry, along with farmers and others negatively affected by the listing, asked newly-minted Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to delay the listing until next year, to give everyone time to figure how they’re going to comply with this newest inanity from USFWS. There is no clear-cut guidance on avoiding the bee’s nesting areas and habitat–a huge loophole through which drilling’s enemies will drive a Mack truck (powered by cooking oil, of course). But then Zinke fumbled and dropped the ball. The listing has gone forward and is now in force. Was this because Zinke was new on the job and still surrounded by Obamadroids? Was it because Zinke has one foot in the Washington Establishment? Who knows?! One thing is for sure, the lowly bumblebee may accomplish what bats and lawsuits could not–slowing down and stopping drilling and pipeline work in the northeast…

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