Klobuchar Calls for Immediate Aid in Fight Against Emerald Ash Borer

Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 5:52 am

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar sent a letter today to Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting immediate assistance to protect Minnesota from the recently discovered Emerald Ash Borer bugs.  Klobuchar is seeking the Department of Agriculture’s approval of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s request for $850,000 to combat the Emerald Ash Borer infestation.

“With the recent discovery of Emerald Ash Borer, it is vital that we do everything possible to stop the spread of this potentially devastating infestation,” said Klobuchar.  “I look forward to working with Secretary Vilsack to address this urgent problem.”

Klobuchar is specifically seeking approval of the Minnesota State Department of Agriculture’s request for $850,000 from the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine Program to help Minnesota deal with the beetle before it has a chance to firmly establish itself.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture recently issued a risk assessment indicating that 40 percent of Minnesota is at risk from Emerald Ash Borer.  Minnesota is home to over 900 million ash trees.

After the recent discovery of EAB in Minnesota, the state instituted a quarantine for Ramsey and Hennepin Counties, the location of the EAB infestation.

Full text of the letter is below:

May 20, 2009

The Honorable Tom Vilsack

Secretary

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Avenue SW

Washington, DC  20250

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

I am writing to inform you of the recent discovery in Minnesota of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and to seek immediate assistance from the Department of Agriculture to respond to this potentially devastating insect infestation.

As you know, EAB is responsible for a path of tree destruction that began in Michigan and has spread to eleven states.  My state of Minnesota is home to over 900 million ash trees. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture recently issued a risk assessment indicating that 40 percent of the state is at risk from EAB.

Minnesota has responded quickly to the threat of EAB.  In 2007, the state legislature banned unlicensed firewood on state lands.  After the recent discovery of EAB in Minnesota, the state instituted a quarantine for Ramsey and Hennepin Counties, the location of the EAB infestation.

The FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act contains nearly $35,000,000 in funding to combat and prevent the spread of the EAB.  Since the infestation was just discovered in Minnesota, I seek your assistance in approving the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s request for $850,000 from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine Program to help Minnesota deal with the beetle before it has a chance to firmly establish itself.

I strongly support the President’s FY 2010 budget request for activities related to the EAB.  I look forward to working with you, Senator Durbin and members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to fund this important program.  I will also work to fully fund the EAB Revolving Loan Fund that was established in the 2008 Farm Bill, which provides low-interest loans for communities to purchase capital equipment and replace infested trees.

I appreciate USDA’s hard work on this issue and ask that you approve the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s request for $850,000 to combat the EAB infestation.  I look forward to working with you on this and other issues in the months and years ahead.

Sincerely,
Amy Klobuchar
United States Senator

Comment on this Story

Join the conversation! All fields are required, but your email address will never be published or shared. Your comment will be held for moderation before posting.