Welch Introduces Bill to Help Forests Recover From Emerald Ash Borer Damage

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) has introduced legislation that would provide federal funding to revitalize forests being destroyed by the Emerald Ash Borer and help stem future infestations of invasive pests.  

“The Emerald Ash Borer is devasting to forests which are a central part of our economy, our heritage, and our way of life,” said Welch. “This initiative will fund efforts to revitalize damaged forests and more swiftly stem future infestations of invasive pests in Vermont and across the country.”

The Invasive Species Prevention and Forest Restoration Act (H.R. 3244) would create a federal grant program to fund research into promising strategies that advance the recovery of forests damaged by invasive pests. The bill would also expand and streamline federal invasive emergency response programs to ensure a timely availability of federal assistance in any future infestation of invasive pests.

Welch’s bill: 

  • Expands the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s access to emergency funding to combat invasive species when existing federal funds are insufficient and broadens the range of actives that these funds can support;

  • Establishes a grant program to support institutions focused on researching methods to restore native tree species that have been severely damaged by invasive pests; and

  • Authorizes funding to implement promising research findings on how to protect native tree species.

The Emerald Ash Borer is an Asian beetle that was first discovered in the United States in 2002. It targets and kills ash trees by depriving them of their nutrition sources and has destroyed tens of millions of ash trees in 35 states. It was first detected in Orange County on February 20, 2018 and is known to be present in parts of Bennington, Caledonia, Grand Isle, Orange, and Washington Counties.