Gillibrand seeks funds to eradicate Emerald Ash Borer
Pest confirmed in 15 counties, including Orleans neighbors
Press release, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee, today urged additional funding to help research, control and eradicate the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect threatening the 900 million ash trees in New York and throughout the country. There are no known methods to control the Emerald Ash Borer.
“New York State is home to some of the world’s most beautiful forests that today are at a major risk,” Sen. Gillibrand said. “Unless we take action, this harmful insect will continue to spread and eat away at trees and forests. We need to make the right investment and bring this harmful insect to a halt before it’s too late.”
The infestation of the Emerald Ash Boer, native to China, was first reported in New York State in 2009 when it was found in Randolph, Cattaraugus County. It has since been found in 14 other counties, including Ulster, Greene, Livingston, Monroe, Steuben, Genesee, Erie, Orange, Albany, Niagara, Dutchess and Tioga, and has now spread to Delaware and Otsego counties.
New York’s forests are also a strong economic driver. The state’s forest industry employs more than 60,000 workers and generates approximately $4.6 billion to the state’s economy, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The insect is suspected of first entering the U.S. near Detroit, Michigan, in 2002, where it led to the killing of millions of ash trees in the Midwest, then making its way to 19 states. The beetle has the potential to destroy upwards of 7 percent of the state’s forests and 7.5 percent of trees across the United States.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Sen. Gillibrand advocated for the proper resources to control the invasive species and protect New York’s forests.