From the Office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin
[WASHINGTON, DC] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that Congress has approved $34,625,000 for nationwide efforts to combat and prevent the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Additionally, the Omnibus Appropriations Act includes special language directing the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to work collaboratively with the City of Chicago to manage the infestation and provide appropriate resources.
“Emerald Ash Borer was once a problem for a few communities outside Chicago, but has now spread throughout much of the state,” said Durbin. “With more than 131 million ash trees in Illinois, securing the resources to tackle this infestation has never been more important. It is time we put a stop to the spread of this insect and today’s funding will help.”
Durbin has been actively involved in efforts to secure emergency assistance for dealing with EAB since it was first discovered in Illinois in June 2006. Since then, over $10 million in federal funding has been allocated for EAB efforts in Illinois and funding for EAB management across the nation has dramatically increased due to his efforts.
Last year, Durbin announced that the farm bill that included authorization for a loan program designed to help municipalities defray the costs of invasive species management activities normally performed by the federal government. The EAB Revolving Loan Fund is will assist with EAB management activities; for instance, include surveying trees, removing infested trees and replacing removed trees. The bill creates a low-interest revolving loan fund for communities to purchase capital equipment and replace trees. Communities would have a 20-year window to repay the loan. In addition, it allows states to contract with local units of government to perform invasive species management duties. While states are able to contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for cost-sharing assistance, the funding does not reach the municipal level.
The Emerald Ash Borer, which has been found in Bureau County, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Kendall County, Lake County, LaSalle County, McLean County and Will County is a bright green beetle that kills trees by burrowing into their bark and destroying the trees’ ability to bring water from the roots to upper branches. Infected trees usually begin to die within two to three years.