President Trump and the Republican Congress have engaged in a broad regulatory rollback, hitting everything from internet privacy standards to workplace safety rules and environmental regulations. So it is more notable than usual that one worthwhile federal regulatory initiative got through recently: The rusty patched bumblebee is being added to the endangered species list after all.

Not only is it remarkable that the Trump administration allowed the listing to proceed over objections from fossil-fuel and other business interests, it also highlights the ongoing importance of caring for at-risk pollinators, which, free of charge, play a crucial role in growing the nation’s food and powering its agricultural economy.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that insects, mostly bees, contribute about $3 billion of economic value to the United States every year.

Citing “a swift and dramatic decline since the late 1990s,” the service had moved to list the species as endangered just before Trump’s inauguration. “Abundance of the rusty patched bumble bee has plummeted by 87 percent, leaving small, scattered populations in 13 states and one (Canadian) province,” the service warned in a Jan. 10 announcement.

But the Trump administration froze all new regulations when Trump entered office, so the listing did not come into effect on Feb. 10, as planned. Fortunately, the delay was not a long one: The first bumblebee and first bee of any type in the continental United States is now officially protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.