Washington DC, (TFC)— Trump’s Administration has been quietly slashing environmental protections since day one. And no, he didn’t stop at gutting the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) website, and then its funding.
Now, the largely disliked President has removed the Rusty Bumblebee from the endangered species list. This comes as pressure against the species heightens, following a year of being decimated by biotech industry poisons.
Like many of Trump’s changes, this one was first established by the Obama Administration. The former pushed for this to become the first American bumblebee species to be officially listed as endangered.
Bee populations have declined over the last couple decades, coinciding with environmental destruction, and GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) agriculture. Last year, fears of Zika virus opened the corporate window for a cacophony of poisons.
Those ultimately sprouted a spray-plane program to eliminate a specific mosquito species known to transmit Zika. However, the spraying was not only met with stiff protests, but human health complaints. In one state, millions of bees were wiped out by Zika pesticides, igniting calls for endangered species protections.
That just happened, and Trump makes this move some are calling illegal. That claim is the basis of a lawsuit against the administration over it threatening bee protections. Filed by the National Resources Defense Council (NSDC), it decries these actions.
“The science is clear”, says NSDC senior attorney Rebecca Riley, “this species is headed for extinction, and soon.” Riley blasted Trump’s government for having “no legitimate reason” to jeopardize conservation protections. “This is one of the most critically endangered species in the country and we can save it”, she said, Truth Out reports, “but not if the White House stands in the way.”
NSDC’s lawsuit shamed Trump’s administration for quietly carrying out these undertakings. Similar to the EPA website purge, no public notice or opportunity for media comment was given. It essentially occurred overnight. If protections aren’t reinstated, the lawsuit details, “the bee will be extinct in all but two ecological regions within ten years.”
US Fish and Wildlife officials, while largely refusing to comment, downplayed concerns. According to them, Trump’s slashing of the bee’s status won’t jeopardize its conservation. It isn’t soothsaying that the organization doesn’t have a backup plan. Paying lip service, and having an actual effective, goal-centered strategy are two different things. In other words, there are no alternatives if Trump dumps Obama’s bumblebee protections.
Truth Out sourced a 2016 US Fish and Wildlife press release highlighting the notion of “critical habitat”. According to the agency, these represent “areas that are essential for a recovering species.” Critical habitats must be designated for recovering species, “with few exceptions”, representatives state. Just as things appeared promising, the agency downplayed protections from land ownership or private lands. Not only that, but USFW all but dismissed the public’s right to respond to these issues.
“The general public is not responsible for addressing the loss of critical habitat unless it is in connection with a federal agency, such as a permit or grant. The purpose of critical habitat is to require federal agencies to consult with the Services to ensure that any action they authorize, fund or carry out are not likely to result in the ‘destruction or adverse modification’ of designated critical habitat.”– US Fish and Wildlife press release
Despite that, the release cites a rule which “revises the definition of ‘destruction or adverse modification’”. These rule changes, officials say, were touted as improvements to transparency and predictability.
Among other convolutions, the rules create exceptions to critical habitat protections if circumstances involve “voluntary conservation agreements, national security, economics”, and such. According to USFW, these exceptions can occur so long “the exclusion will not result in the extinction of the species”.
That’s where big agriculture, biotech companies, and their colleagues come in. Industry reps, as well as oil and gas, pushed against bee protections during the Obama Administration. Whereas some of these corporations are in the farming sector, others are in the pesticide/herbicide trade. Both, when unchecked, decimate ecosystems from the ground up.
Pesticides and herbicides preferred by agra-corporations increase in lethality yearly. Nature and the adaptive prowess of “pests” are largely the driving the advances. Big-agra has its own drive, however, to protect profit by protecting product.
That subsequently results in the deployment of uncontrollable methods such as spraying. Pesticides and herbicides are prone to drift into unintended areas or contaminate water supplies. In some states, chemicals similar to Agent Orange of the Vietnam War are used due to the resistance of pests. These toxins permanently taint soil, which is already damaged by the never-ending harvest of crops. Plants which not only bees, but other life forms, depend on are wiped out. This is just a small sample of the cycle created by big-agras activities, and why the bumblebee threatens their business.
Truth Out also highlighted a fragmenting of federal environmental agencies over Trump’s actions. Whereas many privately express frustration, few are willing to relay this publicly. Many aren’t even sure how they’d go about doing this effectively.
According to Truth Out, the lawsuit against the administration’s actions is still waiting for a court date. Every day this is delayed, in addition to obstructions Trump has created, eats away at the bee’s chances.
Pollinators in general, but particularly honey bees, are ecological hallmarks. If they go, then the system is on it’s way to an utter collapse the likes of which has never been seen. That means fewer fruits, wildflowers, and crops to be utilized in everything from food to skin products.
When these foundations of nature disappear, then damage creeps up the food chain. No one should kid themselves by thinking they’re exempt from these consequences. Just because you live in the city doesn’t mean you’re safe. Your food comes from somewhere, and that somewhere is threatened by Trump’s slashing of bee protections.
Let’s also not forget that USFW’s press release was issued while Obama was in office. Similarly, the struggle at Standing Rock also largely occurred under his watch. It wasn’t until Trump obtained power, however, that the final blows were dealt. Objectivity isn’t a fair trade for these critical species, and voices must be heard on these issues. Immediately.