Stabenow Renews Fight for Full Funding for Emerald Ash Borer Control after News of Invasion of Beetle into U.P.
Emerald ash borer poses a threat to Wisconsin and other Great Lakes states
The discovery that the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle devastating Michigan's ash trees, has crossed into the U.P. should make it clear to everyone that not even large water barriers like the Great Lakes can prevent the beetle's inexorable spread across the country, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) said today.
Michigan officials on Monday called the beetle's discovery in Brimley State Park in Chippewa County an "isolated infestation" and vowed to aggressively eradicate it, but Stabenow said the discovery was a lesson in geography.
"Chippewa County is a beachhead for this invader, a point from which it can easily spread to Wisconsin and down through the Midwest, if Michigan's emergency funding requests are not fully met by the U.S. Department of Agriculture," Stabenow said. "We can't achieve 100 percent eradication with only a fraction of the necessary assistance from the federal government. That's why I am working with Senator Levin, Congressman Dingell, and Congressman Schwarz to identify all avenues to provide full funding for emerald ash borer control."
Funds in the battle against the emerald ash borer are used for research on ways to combat the infestation, identification of infected areas, and tree removal.
Stabenow has been a long-time advocate for expanded federal funding and coordination to control and eradicate the emerald ash borer and other invasive species that threaten Michigan's economy and environment. She continues to argue that it is the best investment of resources and the best national policy to spend what is needed to fight the ash borer, before its continued spread makes containment more difficult and the damage toll greater.
The emerald ash borer is thought to have been introduced to Michigan through wooden shipping pallets from China in Detroit. Because the only known method for controlling the pest is to destroy known infected trees and neighboring trees that may be infected, the beetle's spread across the state has left towns stripped of their ash trees.
State officials say the beetle has killed or damaged an estimated 15 million ash trees in 20 quarantined counties in Michigan and 27 outliers, areas of pest populations outside the quarantined counties.