Schumer: Cuts to programs that control invasive species could exacerbate emerald ash borer problem

WASHINGTON, DC – Like Dutch Elm Disease and the Chestnut blight that obliterated forest trees during the middle of the last century, experts say an exotic emerald ash borer beetle from Asia is expected to completely obliterate New York’s ash trees.

And now, federal funding set up to help control invasive species in the forest could become obsolete.

Last week, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced his opposition to suggested House budget cuts, saying in a press release they could exacerbate upstate New York’s growing ash borer problem. Already, counties from Erie and Monroe to Ulster are under quarantine.

Experts fear the borers could sweep across the state and infect new areas by the end of the summer.

The industry supports nearly 50,000 jobs in New York, and $1.5 billion in payroll. According to Schumer’s office, forest-based manufacturing workers in the Southern Tier have already been laid off, thanks in part to the infestation. Fourteen Southern Tier businesses and 215 million trees here are at risk.

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