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Governor Seeks to Raise Awareness of Asian Longhorned Beetle Danger
Aug. 5, 2010 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUSTA - Governor John E. Baldacci joined officials from the Maine Department of Agriculture, the Maine Department of Conservation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and members of the Maine Legislature and volunteers to proclaim August as Asian Longhorned Beetle Awareness Month.
“The Asian Longhorned Beetle poses a significant threat to our forests and our agricultural economy, and our citizens and visitors are the best defense against its spread,” said Governor Baldacci. “Early detection is key to ensuring the health of Maine’s forests.”
The Asian Longhorned Beetle attacks hardwood trees essential to Maine’s forests, landscapes and economy: maples, birch, ash, mountain ash, poplar, willow, elm, horse chestnut and others. Maples are the most often infested species.
The Asian Longhorned Beetle is native to China and was detected in Worcester, Mass. in 2008. The insect has been found in a number of trees in Boston this year.
There are 17 million acres of forest in Maine to protect. Maine is one of 11 states involved in survey and outreach efforts funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Because of the dangers of infestation to Maine’s economy and landscape, legislators passed and the Governor signed into law this year a ban on firewood coming from outside the State. The State is developing regulations to restrict the movement of out of state firewood. Firewood brought into Maine is a pathway for forest pests including Asian long horned beetle.
"The potential spread of the Asian Longhorned Beetle is alarming," said Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, who sponsored the law to prohibit the transport of out-state fire wood to Maine's forests. "Educating the public about the threat is a crucial step to protecting our forests, which support our state's economy and lifestyle."
The text of the Proclamation follows.
WHEREAS, Maine has 17 million acres of forested land and half is comprised of hardwood trees that enhance the state’s air and water quality, natural landscapes, recreational destinations, wildlife habitats, property values, and the forest and agricultural economy through timber harvesting, maple syrup production and landscape tree sales; and
WHEREAS, many of the trees that beautify urban streets are hardwood trees. These trees help residents reduce heating and cooling costs by shielding homes from the harsh heat of summer and bitter cold of winter, and reduce air pollution and carbon emissions; and
WHEREAS, in August 2008, the Asian Longhorned Beetle, a destructive non-native invasive beetle, was discovered to be destroying hardwood trees in Worcester, MA, and had previously been found in New York, Illinois and New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, the Asian Longhorned Beetle has already killed tens of thousands of hardwood trees in these four states, and damage may reach into the billions of dollars if the beetle is not eradicated; and
WHEREAS, efforts undertaken in Maine as well as in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont in partnership with private and nonprofit organizations, universities, and local, state and federal government, are helping to protect the billions of threatened hardwood trees in the United States; and
WHEREAS, Maine has been proactive in preventing the introduction of the Asian Longhorned Beetle, through outreach, education and surveys; and
WHEREAS, all Mainers have a responsibility to stop the introduction of the Asian longhorned beetle by remaining vigilant; halting transport of firewood, nursery trees, or logs from quarantined areas; and increasing their understanding and awareness of the Asian Longhorned Beetle and its severe potential impacts on the environment and economy,
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN E. BALDACCI, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby proclaim the month of August, 2010 as
ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE AWARENESS MONTH
throughout the State of Maine, and urge all citizens to recognize this observance.
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