American burying beetle

Zinke Sued for Refusing to Release Documents on Efforts to Strip Protection From American Burying Beetle

Oil, Gas Industry Colluding With Trump Administration to Strip Rare, Striking Beetle of Protection, Clear Path for Oil, Gas

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity sued Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today for failing to release public documents about the agency’s move toward stripping Endangered Species Act protections from the American burying beetle. Documents already obtained by the Center show interference in science and collusion between the administration and the oil and gas industry in their efforts to remove protection for the beetle.

The oil and gas industry has for years tried to end protections for the highly endangered beetle, which has declined by more than 90 percent and today lives in a few isolated populations. The Center filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Zinke’s office about the beetle on Feb. 27, 2018. To date the agency has failed to release detailed records related to the request.

“We have serious concerns Secretary Zinke is trying to manipulate science and strip the American burying beetle of protections simply to please the oil and gas industry,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. “This work is going on behind closed doors at Zinke’s Interior Department. The public has every right to know how this is being carried out, and that’s why we’re suing.”

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Learn more about our work to save the American burying beetle.

Contact: Noah Greenwald

Media Contacts:

Endangered Species: Jim Cronin, Media Specialist, (503) 283-5474 ext. 411
Climate Change, Fracking, California Oil and Gas: Rebecca Fuoco, Media Specialist –, (213) 785-5400 ext. 109
Public Lands, National Monuments and Borderlands: Mary K. Reinhart, Media Specialist –, (602) 320-7309
Oceans, Offshore Drilling, Arctic: Steve Jones, Media Specialist –, (415) 305-3866
Pesticides, Toxics and Environmental Health: Andy Parker, Media Specialist –, (503) 310-5569
Population, Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Endangered Species Condoms: Jessica Herrera, Media Specialist –, (520) 345-5726

Patrick Sullivan, Deputy Communications Director,, (415) 632-5316
Mike Stark, Communications Director,, (520) 623-5252 ext. 315
Russ McSpadden, Creative Media Specialist – Media Photos,

Banner photo Center for Biological Diversity; photo of American burying beetle courtesy South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks