Senators Levin, Stabenow Join Bipartisan Senate Colleagues Seeking Funds to Fight Emerald Ash Borer
WASHINGTON U.S. Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today joined Senate colleagues from Ohio and Indiana in urging the Department of Agriculture to provide $45 million in emergency funds this year to help fight emerald ash borer infestation, which has destroyed millions of ash trees throughout the region.
"We are extremely concerned that even leveraged with state funding, current federal funding is not enough to keep our state Emerald Ash Borer programs operating," the Senators wrote to Agriculture Secretary Michael Johanns. "This could have devastating economic impacts for Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, and for the entire Midwest should the beetle be allowed to spread into Wisconsin and other neighboring states."
The three states have received a total of $10 million through fiscal year 2006 Congressional appropriates and could receive an additional $7.5 million in emergency funds from the Department of Agriculture, but the Senators argue that a total of $55 million is needed in fiscal year 2006 to carry out effective emerald ash borer eradication programs.
Ten million ash trees have been removed in Michigan due to damage caused by the emerald ash borer.