Crowley, Weiner Applaud USDA Funding to Combat Asian Longhorned Beetle in New York

October 26, 2010
Press Release

Washington, D.C. —Today, Representatives Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, The Bronx) and Anthony Weiner (D-Queens) praised the announcement of $1.2 million in new funding for New York to address the Asian longhorned beetle. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced that funding will be provided to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets through a cooperative agreement to prevent the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in New York. 

“New York City and State need all the additional resources they can get to keep up the fight against this damaging pest,” said Congressman Crowley. “While the beetle threat is particularly devastating in a city where we treasure our trees and green space, it also puts our economy and jobs at risk if it starts to impact either the maple syrup or timber industries.”

“The Asian Longhorned Beetle poses a serious threat to trees in New York City, and if left unchecked it could be devastating to our environment. This funding from the USDA will go a long way toward the eventual eradication of this tree eating bug,” said Congressman Weiner.

The ALB is an insect from China that destroys hardwood trees by disrupting the flow of nutrients and water through the trunk, roots and stem. New York City has been fighting the ALB since it was first discovered in 1996 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Since then, the ALB pest has already destroyed over 5,000 trees in New York City, with over 2 million more trees at risk, potentially costing billions of dollars in damage. The ALB now has a presence in all boroughs except the Bronx, and they have also been found in Long Island, New Jersey, Chicago, California and Worchester, MA.

This new funding will support the New York ALB eradication program, which is a cooperative effort among various federal, state and local agencies, including USDA’s APHIS, Forest Service and Agricultural Research Service; as well as the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

Crowley and Weiner have been fighting to make sure that New York City gets its fair share of federal funds to fight the ALB, and have made an annual push for substantial increases in funding every appropriations cycle. Since the discovery of the beetle in 1996, nearly $180 million in federal dollars has been directed to New York City and Long Island for eradication efforts.