by: COURTESY OF CHRISTY STEWART - The federal government has failed to respond to a petition seeking protection for the endangered rusty patched bumble bee. The Portland-based Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation teamed with the Natural Resources Defense Council to file a legal complaint Tuesday, May 14, against the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for failing to take action on a petition to protect the rusty patched bumble bee.

Xerces filed a petition to seek protection for the endangered bumble fee under the Endangered Species Act more than a year ago. The law requires the secretary of the interior to make an initial response to that petition with three months. If the secretary then finds protection may be warranted, a decision is due within one year on whether the bee should be protected. Neither deadline has been met, according to the Xerces Society, which prompted the new complaint.

The rusty patched bumble bee once was common across the Upper Midwest and East Coast, but in recent years has disappeared from 87 percent of its historic range.

“This once-common bee has nearly disappeared in the past decade and a half,” says Sarina Jepsen, Endangered Species program director at Xerces. “The few remaining populations are isolated and likely to go extinct without protection under the Endangered Species Act.”

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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