Judge rejects Trump administration attempt to toss endangered species lawsuit

Image of bears in a field.

(The Hill) A federal judge has rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to dismiss a challenge to its rollback of endangered species protections, ruling late Monday that the 17-state lawsuit can proceed. The August rule significantly weakens protections under the landmark Endangered Species Act, allowing economic factors to be weighed before adding an animal to the list and limiting how aspects such as climate change can be considered in listing decisions.

EPA asked to approve dinotefuran on apples, peaches, nectarines

Image of apple trees.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The Environmental Protection Agency is considering granting “emergency” approval of a neonicotinoid pesticide for use on more than 57,000 acres of fruit trees, including apples, peaches and nectarines, in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. If granted, this would mark the tenth straight year that emergency exemptions of dinotefuran have been granted in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania to target the brown marmorated stink bug on pome and stone fruit trees, which are highly attractive to bees.

Endangered Species Act protection sought for Suckley’s cuckoo bumble bee

Image of Suckley's bumble bee.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned for Endangered Species Act protection today for the critically imperiled Suckley’s cuckoo bumble bee, which has declined by more than 90 percent. The bee is unusual in that it is a “cuckoo” or social parasite that takes over the nests of other bumblebees. Due to habitat loss, Suckley’s now mostly survives on public land, where it is still threatened by grazing, over-use of pesticides and fire suppression.

New Mexico unveils ‘pollinator protection’ license plate

Image of new license plate.

(Santa Fe New Mexican) The state transportation department said proceeds from the new plates will help fund planting projects along state roads. The pollinator project also will create educational gardens and reduce mowing and spraying of herbicides along roadways as a way to improve habitat for bees and other pollinators. The plate features the artwork of a sixth-grade student from the Albuquerque Sign Language Academy.

California attorney general calls out insufficient regulation of insecticide

Image of honey bee on flower.

(Santa Barbara Independent) Flonicamid is currently under review by the EPA for residential use, but California Attorney General Xavier Becerra asserts the insecticide may be toxic to bees and other critical pollinators. A new study on adult honey bees found flonicamid to be fatal for bees, Becerra stated in a letter to the EPA. A copy of the comment letter can be found here.

Monsanto’s secret funding for weedkiller studies

Image of glyphosate label.

(The Guardian) Monsanto secretly funded academic studies indicating “very severe impacts” on farming and the environment if its controversial glyphosate weedkiller were banned. The new revelations center on studies published in 2010 and 2014 by researchers at an agricultural and environmental consultancy in the UK that concluded “the loss of glyphosate would cause very severe impacts on UK agriculture and the environment”.