Letter to The Honorable Conrad Burns, Chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, The The Honorable Byron Dorgan, Chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior
June 13, 2006
The Honorable Conrad Burns
Chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior
187 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Byron Dorgan
Ranking Member, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senators Burns and Dorgan:
As the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior considers its budget for FY2007, we ask that you include $2.6 million for the Forest and Rangeland Research program at the U.S. Forest Service for Emerald Ash Borer research and technology development. An emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation is currently plaguing Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio, and has just been identified in Illinois. This funding would assist the Northern Research Station in developing technology to control the pest.
To date, federal support for combating EAB has focused on eradication and limiting the spread of EAB from affected states through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) at the Department of Agriculture. Unfortunately, EAB activities at APHIS have yet to be adequately funded to control the pest, and it has continued to spread across Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and into Illinois.
There has been less focus on the science being conducted by the Forest Service which seeks to suppress the pest. In FY2005, the Northern Research Station budget for EAB research was $1.1 million, and in FY2006 it received $1.2 million. The research station believes that with a total investment of $2.6 million, substantial progress can be made on identifying techniques to suppress the EAB and slow its spread.
Until recently, the country had been fortunate that the Emerald Ash Borer infestation was bounded to the north, east, and west by three of the Great Lakes, which had helped facilitate mitigation efforts. However, we see with the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer west into Illinois recently, additional funding for EAB research is essential not only to contain the pest, but begin to suppress it. For these reasons, we ask that you consider this additional funding EAB science research through the Forest Service in FY2007.
(Signatories: Barack Obama, Richard Durbin)