Welch Outlines Effort to Secure Federal Resources to Help Contain the Spread of the Emerald Ash Borer in Vermont

At a press conference this afternoon in Randolph, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) outlined three actions he is taking to assist the effort to contain the spread of the destructive emerald ash borer in Vermont.  The beetle, first discovered in the United States in 2002, targets and kills ash trees by depriving them of their nutrition sources.

Welch was joined at the press conference by Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts and state forestry leaders.

“The news that the emerald ash borer has spread to Vermont is no surprise, but devastating nonetheless,” Welch said. “Forests are a central part of our economy, our heritage, and our way of life. While there is little we can do to eradicate this pest, there is a lot we can do to contain its spread. A successful response will require strong partnership with the federal government.  Working with Senators Leahy and Sanders, I intend to do all I can to ensure Vermont has the resources it needs to contain the infestation in Vermont.”

“This destructive pest will be in Vermont for a long time,” said Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “It will take a long term strategy to manage the damage. Our federal partners will play a critical role in making the best of a bad situation. We are thankful Representative Welch will bring that message to Washington.”

Welch outlined actions he is taking to secure federal resources to assist with the state’s containment effort. Specifically, Welch is

  • Calling on Agriculture Secretary Purdue to mobilize USDA resources to assist Vermont in containing the threat

  • Pursuing increased funding levels for USDA’s Tree and Wood Pests program

  • Introducing legislation suggested by the Vermont Woodlands Association that will provide more tools to fight invasive species like the emerald ash borer, and create a new grant program to research how to protect native tree species from threats such as the emerald ash borer.

The emerald ash borer is an Asian beetle that has destroyed tens of millions of ash trees in 32 states since 2002. It was first detected in Orange, Vermont on February 20th, 2018.