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Chicago Emerald Ash Borer Central

Latest Emerald Ash Borer Information

EAB Revolving Loan Fund Becomes Law

Posted by Ron Wolford -

Illinois cities will soon receive federal assistance in financing their emerald ash borer management and prevention activities, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (DIL) announced today on Chicago's IIT campus, the site of the most recent EAB discovery. The EAB Revolving Loan Fund, which Durbin authored, became law earlierthis week as part of the farm bill.

"Illinois has more than 131 million ash trees and more than 20 percent of the trees in the Chicago area are ash," said Durbin. "In the past two years, emerald ash borer has killed tens of millions of trees throughout the Midwest forcing communities to spend large sums of money to dispose of the dying trees and replant new trees. The revolving loan fund will help provide Illinois communities with the resources to address the current situation and avert a potentially devastating one. In the past few years, this insect has killed tens of millions of trees throughout the Midwest – we need to do everything we can to get ahead of this infestation spreading further in Illinois."

Durbin's EAB Revolving Loan Fund is designed to help municipalities defray the costs of invasive species management activities normally performed by the federal government. 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 for the purchase of capital equipment and replacement trees to perform duties on municipal government land within quarantine areas. Communities would have a 20-year window to repay the loan. The current federal program does not reimburse municipalities for expenses related to invasive species prevention.

In addition, the bill 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.

Durbin, a member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, 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 the funding for EAB management across the nation has drastically increased due to Senator Durbin's efforts.

"Federal funding will be a critical resource in Chicago to assist officials in their effort to minimize the infestation and maximize our ability to utilize urban ash trees. That is why I will continue to lead a bipartisan effort in Congress to stop the spread of this invasive species."

The Emerald Ash Borer, which is currently present in Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, LaSalle 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.

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