In January, before President Barack Obama left office, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scheduled the rusty patched bumblebee to be listed on the endangered species list Feb. 10 – and with good reason. The population of rusty patched bumblebees, which used to be abundant in 28 states, has declined nearly 90 percent over two decades. At this rate of decline, it is expected to be extinct within a few years.

There’s no underestimating the importance of bumblebees to the natural order. While their busyness doesn’t yield honey for your tea and toast, the nest-dwelling fuzzy pollinators are vital to the process that produces fruit, seeds and nuts. The rusty patched bumblebees are the first of continental America’s domestic bee population to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

On Feb. 9, the day before they were to be officially listed as endangered, the Trump administration temporarily froze all new federal regulations. The rusty patched bumblebee’s status was suddenly thrown into limbo at a time when protections are needed most.

The Natural Resources Defense Council sued the Trump administration for delaying the bumblebees’ listing as an endangered species, arguing that it was a violation of the law.

Fortunately, the Trump administration reversed its position and is allowing the rusty patched bumblebee to be listed. This will mean that bee habitats and the dwindling number of places they can be found can be protected from companies and individuals that would harm them.

This is the right call. Besides, it wouldn’t have only been a species of bumblebee that felt the sting of extinction. It would’ve been everyone dependent on the fruits of the bees’ labor, too.

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