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BuffaloBorderInformationReportSeptember19-25

By Edith Kelley,2014-05-19 14:28
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    Buffalo Border Information Report: September 19 - 25, 2009

    Summary:

A. Border Related News Media

Border/Security:

    ; Dispute closes Seaway bridge 6 hours

    ; Mohawks upset with new customs rule

    ; Immigration office on move in Buffalo

     Politics:

    ; Soluri stepping down Oct. 31

     Business/Trade:

    ; Just before G-20, report sees protectionism rise

    ; Canada business trip touts NNY

    ; Canadian gas-field services firm arrives in Pa.

     Culture/Tourism:

    ; Underground Railroad commission formed

B. Border Communications

    ; Secretary Napolitano Applauds President Obama’s Intent to Nominate Alan

    Bersin as CBP Commissioner

    ; Registration Opens October 1 for CBP’s Annual Trade Symposium

    ; U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers Thwart Bird Smuggling

    Attempt

    ; Schumer: Cost Of Fighting Invasive Plant Pests Straining Community

    Budgets; Funding For Pest Management Loan Program Would Help Defray

    Costs Of Containing Threat

    ; U.S. Considers Canadian Offer to Ensure Openness of Sub-Federal

    Procurement Markets

    ; Culturefest’09 Media Advisory

    ; Embassy: Canada's Foreign Policy Newsweekly

C. Editorials

D. Citizens Views (write-in letters)

    REPORT:

    A. Border Related News Media

    Dispute closes Seaway bridge 6 hours

    Watertown Daily Times September 20, 2009

    The Seaway International Bridge was closed for about six hours Saturday over a dispute between Akwesasne Mohawks and Canada Border Services Agency. For about an hour Saturday morning, residents of the island in Mohawk territory were forcing Canadian drivers to turn around and return to the city of Cornwall, rather than pass through to Massena. About 11:10 a.m., Cornwall Community Police assisted with closing the bridge, a release said. By 12:30 p.m., the bridge was closed to traffic coming from both sides of the international border. It remained closed until 5:25 p.m. "They set up at the old toll booth and started turning people around," said Cpl. Martin Jock with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police, who were called in to help secure the bridge. He said officers from the CBSA "were impounding cars who were not reporting to customs. The residents became angry and decided to do something about it." On Friday, the CBSA began imposing $1,000 fines on residents of Kawehnoke, or Cornwall Island, who were not reporting in at the temporary checkpoint in the city of Cornwall when crossing onto the island from Massena. If the fine was not paid, their vehicles were seized. Since the bridge reopened in mid-July, travelers have been told they must report to the customs booths in the city, even if the island was their final destination. That move has rankled Cornwall Island residents who, under the regulation, have to drive across the northern span of the bridge, report in with CBSA officers at the base of the traffic circle in Cornwall, and then make the return trip before going home. Not all of them have been reporting and the CBSA began impounding cars, according to a press release from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. "Akwesasronon traveling to Kawehnoke present no threat to Canada," the press release said. The number of cars seized was unavailable late Saturday. "Community members are opposed to the enforcement and seizure actions the CBSA is taking against the Mohawk people," said Brendan F. White, Mohawk Council spokesman. After the bridge reopened, he said, "This continues to be a delicate situation." Neither side would say late Saturday how an agreement was reached to reopen the bridge. Earlier this summer, the bridge was shut down for six weeks because of protests over arming CBSA officers. The tribe contends that giving the officers guns on Mohawk land is a violation of its tribal sovereignty. The bridge reopened in mid-July, after the CBSA officers moved their checkpoint to the city of Cornwall. Since then, there have been several meetings and an ongoing dialogue between CBSA officials and tribal leadership to solve the problem, according to Mr. White. The Mohawks are firm in their refusal to allow armed customs officers on their land and the CBSA has said officers will not return to their post without them. Building a new checkpoint in the city of Cornwall would be expensive and time-consuming, and space at the base of the traffic circle, the location of the temporary checkpoint, is tight. "Progress was being made between our leaders and CBSA officials. What happened (Friday) is a setback," Mr. White said. "It is certainly something we want to have resolved as soon as possible. It is unfortunate." Travelers to Canada were being redirected to the crossing in Fort Covington in Franklin County or the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge. The Massena port of entry was never closed, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

    Mohawks upset with new customs rule

    Plattsburgh Press Republican September 21, 2009

    Akwesasne Mohawks living on Cornwall Island are having their vehicles seized and impounded if they do not report to the Canadian Customs House in the City of Cornwall. A $1,000 fine for recovery of vehicles is being imposed by the Canadian Border Service Agency, the same agency that closed the Seaway International Bridge for six weeks this summer. The international bridge, known to the Mohawks as the Three Nations Bridge, is a series of two bridges and a land mass in between. The land mass is Cornwall Island, and it is Akwesasne Mohawk territory. Drivers are required to stop at the American and Canadian customs house and pay tolls, while Mohawks travel back and forth from Cornwall Island freely. But Canadian authorities are now requiring island Mohawks to drive to the City of Cornwall to report their travel plans at its temporary Customs House, a move that the leadership of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne opposes. "They are not entering Canada, but traveling only within Mohawk territory," Mohawk Council spokesman Brenda White said in a news release. "When they do travel to Cornwall, they report at the Cornwall Port, as does every other visitor to Canada." The bridge was again closed for five hours Saturday as residents upset by the vehicle seizures turned around travelers headed south into the United States and redirected them out of St. Regis Mohawk territory to other border crossings. "The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne views this action as aggressive and totally inconsistent with the cooperative approach that had been taken by CBSA (Canadian Border Service Agency) in meetings with the Akwesasne Leadership Task Force," the Mohawk release said. The Mohawks said they are close to an agreement that would reopen the Customs House on Cornwall Island. But Saturday's action "is not a good-faith action and is extremely detrimental to the process to seek reconciliation of past grievances," the release states. "It was this very treatment of the Akwesasne community that led to

    the abandonment of the Kawehnoke Port (Cornwall Island) by CBSA to begin with." On June 1, just as it was to begin a policy to arm all of its border-crossing officers, Canadian customs ordered its officers out of the Customs House on Cornwall Island and closed the building. Akwesasne residents opposed the weaponry because the Customs House was in a residential neighborhood and because of uninvestigated complaints about racial profiling and harassment by some customs officers. Both sides of the bridge were closed to all vehicles except emergency transportation. The bridge reopened after 42 days, and authorities have been in negotiation since then to resolve the underlying issues.

    Immigration office on move in Buffalo

    Business First of Buffalo - September 19, 2009

    Within the next few weeks, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will be opening its new, downtown Buffalo offices a move that could see the federal agency add 100 more workers to its staff. Immigration Services, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, is taking over 32,000-square-feet in the Bank of America building that overlooks Fountain Plaza. The agency is moving from interim offices on Exchange Street that it occupied after being re-located from the former Dulski Federal Building, now the Avant on Delaware Avenue. Immigration Services will take over the second and third floor of the Bank of America Building. “We’re in the final stages of construction on the build out now,” said Sam LaGambina, Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. vice president of construction. LaGambina said Immigration Services has begun moving in its furniture, equipment and fixtures. The office should be fully operational soon, he added. The federal agency, which currently has 33 local workers, plans on hiring at least 100 more people to accommodate its increased work load. Immigration Services expects to have approximately 135 workers in the building. “It’s a positive move,” said Michael Schmand, executive director of Buffalo Place Inc. “It’s another sign of growth in downtown Buffalo.” Ciminelli Real Estate manages and leases the 200,000-square-foot building for its owners, Buffalo Success LLC.

    With the Immigration Services contract, the building is more than 90 percent under lease, said Paul Ciminelli, Ciminelli president.

    Soluri stepping down Oct. 31

    Niagara Falls Gazette September 21, 2009

    After more than 15 years as mayor of the village, Richard Soluri has decided to step down at the end of next month. Soluri made the announcement at the end of Monday’s Village of Lewiston meeting. “It’s time,” he said. “It’s been a long time 15 years.” In a statement read at the meeting, Soluri said he was taking “a much needed respite from responsibility for personal reasons.” It has been previously reported that Soluri was not going to seek re-election after his term ends in 2010.

    “I just decided to step down in advance of that,” the mayor said Monday. Soluri’s final day in office will be Oct. 31. He said he’s “considering my future in 2010.” Could that include a possible run at a fifth term as village mayor? Soluri said no Monday. “Never say never,” quipped Anne Welch, the village’s clerk-treasurer. For now, the board will decide how to

    replace Soluri in November. Either it will select a successor to serve out the remaining months of Soluri’s term or allow deputy mayor William Geiben to finish the term. “That’s why I announced now,” Soluri said, “so they’ll be plenty of time of time to do that.”

    Just before G-20, report sees protectionism rise

    Buffalo News September 19, 2009

    The world’s major powers are repeatedly breaking their pledges not to erect trade barriers, and there’s no sign the “protectionist juggernaut” will ease as countries recover from the global downturn, an influential monitoring organization

    said Friday. Since first taking a no-protectionism vow at a summit meeting last November, the world’s 20 major

    economies have been responsible for as many as 121 “blatantly protectionist” measures, with 134 more in the pipeline,

    said Global Trade Alert, a monitoring service overseen by the Londonbased Centre for Economic Policy Research and supported by the World Bank and other international organizations. The findings, bound to come up at next week’s Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh, follow a report earlier in the week by the Geneva- based World Trade Organization that cited “continued slippage toward more trade restricting and distorting policies” by the U. S. and its major trading partners. “The real economy may now be shrinking at a slower rate, and a recovery may be in view, but unemployment will continue to rise for some time to come. Pressures to protect jobs at home will grow and governments will find these pressures difficult to resist,” said the new report. “The protectionist juggernaut shows no sign of slowing down,” it said. At a meeting last November in Washington to chart a joint strategy for combatting the worst global economic downturn in decades, leaders of the 20 largest industrial and developing economies pledged to refrain from erecting new barriers to trade and investment or imposing new export restrictions. They renewed the pledge in April in London. A U. S.-China dispute that

    erupted last weekend over Chinese tires and American chicken exports is just the latest example of how hard it has been for leaders to live up to that pledge. Trade warfare is widely blamed for prolonging and expanding the Great Depression. And while the trade-distorting protectionist measures in the current downturn haven’t risen to the level of those of the

    1930s, they have caused “pain across large sections of the world economy” and could thwart recovery if allowed to continue, said the Global Trade Alert report. The G-20 leaders at their Pittsburgh meeting should “drain the protectionist

    pipeline and don’t refill it,” said Simon Evenett, an economics professor at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and the principal author of the report. Although the major powers have promised to work collectively to confront the downturn, some analysts suggest the fact that things appear to be getting better may be easing the pressure to work together on solutions as national self-interest reasserts itself. That includes a desire to protect battered home industries from overseas competition as governments look toward the day when they can dial back stimulus measures such as extra government spending and low interest rates. President Obama has pledged to avoid “self-defeating protectionism” in

    continuing the effort to get the U. S. and other major world economies back on their feet. Mike Froman, a White House adviser on international economics, said there’s no doubt that since the London meeting in April “the situation has changed dramatically” in terms of the global economic outlook. “Then people thought we were perhaps on the edge of depression. And now I think we’re debating the pace of recovery,” he said. Steps taken by the United States widely seen by other nations as protectionist include “Buy American” provisions in the Obama administration’s $787 billion stimulus package, restrictions keeping Mexican trucks off most U. S. roads and provisions of auto bailouts requiring vehicles benefiting from the program to be built in the United States. China has funneled its extensive stimulus spending to Chinese-only companies and enterprises. Russia plans sweeping tariff increases. Japan is taking steps that will further restrict food imports. And South Africa is changing its purchasing rules to favor domestic producers. The G-20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Britain and the United States. The European Union, represented by its rotating presidency and the European Central Bank, is the 20th member.

    Canada business trip touts NNY

    Watertown Daily Times - September 19, 2009

    City, St. Lawrence County and Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority officials will be spreading the word about the economic benefits of the area to Canadian businesses next week. John A. Rishe, industrial development director for the OBPA, Kimberly R. DesChamp, economic development program manager for the city, and St. Lawrence County Economic Developer Brian Norton will attend the Eastern Ontario Economic Showcase in Ottawa on Wednesday and Thursday. OBPA officials also will be attending the Canadian Wind Energy Association's annual conference in Toronto on Monday. "The message is that the U.S. market starts in St. Lawrence County," county Economic Development Director Raymond H. Fountain said. He said they will also showcase "our ability as a facilitator if individual companies are interested in coming here, that we can be that comprehensive source of information and resources." The city and OBPA officials will be sharing a booth at the showcase to represent the Joint Economic Development Committee, which includes the city of Ogdensburg, the OBPA and the town of Oswegatchie. The county will have its own booth. According to Mr. Fountain, the total cost for the local officials' trip is $1,705. Although local officials often attend economic conferences in Canada, the scheduled closing of the state's Empire Zone tax benefit and incentives program is changing the usual message. "Less incentive is less incentive," Mrs. DesChamp said. "We have redesigned our lure brochures to eliminate any of the language relative to the Empire Zones Program and will highlight the other positives the city has to offer." However, with the program expected to end June 30, 2010, some officials hope that they will not entirely lose the selling point of state incentives. "We realize it has a sunset date, but I think the state is looking at developing another program to take its place, so we'll see how that turns out," Mr. Rishe said.

    Canadian gas-field services firm arrives in Pa.

    Philadelphia Inquirer September 22, 2009

    A Canadian maker of wellhead equipment is operating its first facility in Pennsylvania as more field service companies join the Marcellus Shale natural gas rush. Stream-Flo Industries Ltd. of Edmonton, Alberta, recently opened the facility in Indiana, Pa., complete with sales, service, engineering and design personnel on site. Stream-Flo's manager of distribution and service centers, Joe Guarino, says three Stream-Flo staff have been transferred to Indiana while the company expects to add local hires. The facility is designed to serve clients throughout the Marcellus Shale field, which extends into New York and West Virginia. Guarino says Stream-Flo may add locations elsewhere in Pennsylvania.

    Underground Railroad commission formed

    Niagara Falls Gazette September 23, 2009

    Promoting the area’s ties to the Underground Railroad is no longer just a grassroots effort. A dozen residents with various backgrounds and education have been appointed to New York state’s first Underground Railroad Heritage Commission. Members will work with sub-committees and be charged with implementing a master strategy to promote cultural heritage and oversee projects. To aid efforts, the commission is slated to receive $350,000 in casino funds annually until 2010. “This is like the perfect storm, we’ve been waiting a long time for this to happen,” said Kevin Cottrell, who has led local Underground Railroad tours for years and will help coordinate the commission’s efforts. “It gives us an identity, it gives us legs and it gives us dollars. We have no excuses not to do it now ... because the funding is in place.” According to historians, abolitionist Harriet Tubman guided about 300 slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad in the mid-1800s from Maryland to Canada, making the last stretch over the former Suspension Bridge, now the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge in the city. Grassroots efforts to promote those ties have grown over the years and evolved into tours, re-enactments and an annual Freedom Trail Festival. Last year, the city and Niagara Falls State Park signed an agreement to appoint Cottrell to serve as project coordinator of the North Star initiative, created to establish a heritage tourism district

    along North Main Street and near the Whirlpool Bridge. So far, North Star has proposed three major projects, including transforming the first floor of the old U.S. Custom’s House on Whirlpool Street into an Underground Railroad interpretive

    center, which will complement the planned International Train Station. Cottrell has also proposed creating a park named after Tubman at Ontario Avenue and Main Street and is trying to partner with the U.S. Bridge Commission to allow pedestrian access halfway up the Whirlpool Bridge so people can relive Tubman’s historic walk. North Star’s work will now be folded into the new heritage commission. Twelve members of the committee have been named by Gov. David Paterson, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster and various other local and state officials. Members are Bill Bradberry, Zach Casale, Niagara Falls Senior Planner Tom DeSantis, Denise Easterling, Eva Nicklas, Ken Wagner, Tricia Mezhir, Carol Murphy, Anthony Restaino Sr., Seneca Vaught, Councilman Charles Walker and Lillian Williams. The commission’s

    initial duties will be to create a management plan that will connect to various sites throughout Niagara County. Members will also gather community input on potential projects and how they can be realized. “The goal has always been to lure

    tourists out of the state park when they’re done there and into the city’s core,” Cottrell said. “The commission is charged with trying to lure them in.” Next Wednesday, Cottrell will host officials from the National Trust for Historic Preservation

    and give them a tour of the old Custom’s House and other sites of interest. Dyster hand-picked DeSantis and Walker

    based on their prior commitment to Underground Railroad and cultural heritage initiatives and attempts to rebuild North Main Street. “Tom and Charles are well aware that the history of the Underground Railroad in Niagara Falls has been, for far too long, an unpolished gem and, unfortunately, an ignored piece of our local history,” Dyster said. “With the formation of the (commission) we are going to put this nearly lost part of our history on full display for the world to study, to appreciate and to enjoy.” Walker, who helped establish North Star with Cottrell, said many people have been skeptical that cultural heritage could become a thriving industry for the city. He believes the formation of the commission helps disprove that theory and shows expectations are high. “We can rebuild Main Street behind the Harriet Tubman icon,” Walker said. Commission members: • Bill Bradberry • Zach Casale • Tom DeSantis • Denise Easterling • Eva Nicklas* • Tricia Mezhir • Carol Murphy* • Anthony Restaino Sr. • Seneca Vaught • Ken Wagner • Charles Walker • Lillian Williams* * - pending appointment

    B. Border Communications

    Secretary Napolitano Applauds President Obama’s Intent to Nominate Alan Bersin as CBP Commissioner

    Release Date: September 22, 2009

    For Immediate Release

    Office of the Press Secretary

    Contact: 202-282-8010

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today applauded President Obama’s intent to

    nominate Alan Bersincurrently serving as DHS Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Border Affairsas U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner.

    “Under Alan’s leadership over the past several months, we have forged new international and domestic partnerships along our borders to strengthen security,” said Secretary Napolitano. “I look forward to continuing to work with Alan in his new position, where he will lead the Department’s efforts to implement practical, innovative solutions to protect our country from threats to our national and economic security and facilitate legitimate travel and trade.”

    Since joining the Department in mid-April, Bersin has led efforts to implement President Obama’s Southwest Border

    Initiative. As CBP Commissioner, Bersin will lead DHS efforts to secure America’s borders while overseeing the enforcement of immigration, customs and drug laws. He will manage more than 57,000 CBP employees working to secure U.S. land and maritime borders.

    Biography

    Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Bersin was Board Chairman of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, appointed in December 2006. He served from 2005-2006 as California’s Secretary of Education, appointed by

    Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and previously oversaw the nation’s eighth largest urban school district from 1998-

    2005 as superintendent of public education in San Diego.

    Bersin also served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California from 1993 to 1998. Concurrently, he was appointed as Special Representative for the Southwest Border in 1995 by former Attorney General Janet Reno and, in that capacity, oversaw the coordination of border law enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border for three years. As a law enforcement official, educator and civil servant, Bersin’s previous positions include Special Counsel to the Los Angeles Police Commission, visiting professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, and Lecturer at Stanford University Graduate School of Education. He holds a B.A. from Harvard College, a J.D. from Yale University and was a Rhodes Scholar.

    ###

    Registration Opens October 1 for CBP’s Annual Trade Symposium

    Session Marks 10-Year Anniversary: A Decade of Progress in Partnership

(Monday, September 21, 2009)

    contacts for this news release

    Washington U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Jayson P. Ahern will host CBP’s 10th annual trade symposium at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC on December 8 10. Registration

    will open on Thursday, October 1. The registration fee is $290.

    All registration must be completed on the CBP Web site and must be confirmed with payment by credit card. This year’s theme is "Trade Symposium 2009 10-Year Anniversary: A Decade of Progress in Partnership."

    CBP’s trade symposium brings together more than 800 participants from the international trade and transportation communities, other government agencies, Congress and CBP senior management. Symposium events will include panel discussions on CBP’s international trade security and facilitation initiatives, and presentations by senior government leaders. Symposium topics will include Importer Security Filing (10+2), Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), the Automated Commercial Environment and other CBP programs and initiatives.

    ―This symposium continues to be an invaluable opportunity to collaborate with our trade partners, share accomplishments, discuss new initiatives and further our common goals of trade security and facilitation,‖ said Acting Commissioner Ahern.

    Additional details will be provided on the CBP Web site and in a Federal Register Notice published September 21. For more information, please contact tradeevents@dhs.gov.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers Thwart Bird Smuggling

    Attempt

(Monday, September 21, 2009)

    contacts for this news release

    Lewiston, N.Y. U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the seizure of three birds which were being smuggled into the United States.

    On September 20, CBP officers encountered a Serbian born U.S. citizen, as he applied for admission into the United States at the Lewiston Bridge border crossing in Lewiston, N.Y. The subject advised CBP officers that he was returning from a one day trip visiting a relative in Hamilton, Ontario. During initial questioning, the subject aroused the suspicion of CBP officers, and was subsequently referred for a secondary exam.

    During the course of the secondary inspection, a search of the subject’s luggage led to the discovery of three live pigeons wrapped in newspaper and hidden within his clothing.

    Agents from Immigration and Custom Enforcement and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assisted CBP officers and agriculture specialists in the initial investigation. The initial interview with the subject revealed that he collects pigeons as a

    personal hobby. A monetary penalty of $300.00 was assessed and the case was referred to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Investigative and Enforcement Services for further action and possible criminal prosecution. The undeclared birds were seized by CBP and transferred to the custody of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Division of Veterinary Services.

    ―The entry of live birds into the United States is strictly regulated by USDA to prevent the introduction of avian diseases such at Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and/or Exotic Newcastle Disease,‖ said James Collingwood, CBP assistant

    director of Field Operations for the Buffalo Field Office. ―These diseases have the potential to cause economic harm and possible devastation to the United States Agriculture industry.‖

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 24, 2009

    SCHUMER: COST OF FIGHTING INVASIVE PLANT PESTS STRAINING COMMUNITY BUDGETS; FUNDING FOR PEST

    MANAGEMENT LOAN PROGRAM WOULD HELP DEFRAY COSTS OF CONTAINING THREAT

    Schumer Amendment, Accepted Into Bill Today, Will Provide $2 Million For The Pest And Disease Management Revolving

    Loan Fund

    Fund Provides Money To Help Localities Defray Burdensome Costs of Fighting Invasive Species Ravaging Trees Across NYS

    Communities Lack Capital, Resources Needed to Quarantine, Treat and Remove Infested Trees

    Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that his amendment to provide $2 million in critical funding to fight invasive plant pests has been accepted as part of the Senate’s Interior Appropriations bill, set to pass today. The money will be spent through the Pest and Disease Management Revolving Loan Fund to fight the spread of invasive plant pests threatening forests across Upstate New York and major portions of the United States. The Department of Agriculture has been working to eradicate plant pests but the costs associated with tree removal and replacement are high and place an unnecessary burden on municipalities. The Pest and Disease Revolving Loan Fund provides local governments with affordable financing options to fund the eradication. The amendment is cosponsored by Senator Dick Durban (D-IL) and the full bill will be voted on the floor later today and is expected to pass.

    “Invasive species are a blight on our economy and our ecosystem,” said Schumer. “Protecting our trees and forests from invasive species is critical to the continued vitality of the region and I will continue to fight for funds that help combat these destructive insects to keep Upstate New York’s trees and forests healthy.”

    Insects like the Emerald Ash Borer and the Asian Longhorned Beetle threaten the health of forests and ash and maple trees every year, which in turn threatens the livelihood of communities that depend on the forests. Since 2002, the Emerald Ash Borer has devastated forests throughout the country and has the potential to decimate New York’s ash tree population. More than 70 million ash trees in 13 Midwestern states and Pennsylvania, as well as many in southern Ontario in Canada have already been destroyed by this deadly pest.

    The ecological and economic impacts of these invasives are a serious concern. Defoliation by these insects can result in plant stress and possible death. Companies that make products from ash and maple trees harvested in New York will be negatively impacted if the Emerald Ash Borer, Asian Longhorned Beetle and other invasive species continue to spread throughout the state. According to the Empire State Forest Products Association, forest-based manufacturing employs over 49,000 people in New York, and generates payrolls of over $1.5 billion. Without drastic and immediate intervention, industries relying on New York for quality hardwood resources will suffer. In addition, invasives will kill trees and disturb the natural balance of New York’s forests,

    which provide recreational opportunities to many and foster tourism.

    The Pest and Disease Revolving Loan Fund would provide local governments with low interest financing to help defray the costs of invasive plant pest management activities. These loans would allow communities to purchase capital equipment and replacement trees in order o manage infestations.

The Pest and Disease Revolving Loan Fund:

    ; Appropriates funds for loans to local governments to finance purchases of equipment to monitor,

    remove, dispose of, and replace infested trees located in local government jurisdiction and within

    quarantine areas infested by plant pests.

    ; Permits funding through cooperative agreements with local governments related to eradication,

    prevention, control, or suppression of plant pests.

    Senator Schumer has been an active participant in the fight to prevent the spread of EAB and other invasives in NY and around the country. In July, Schumer unveiled a comprehensive, three-point plan to fight the spread which included successfully lobbying USDA to releasing an additional $100,000 in emergency funds to fight EAB and supporting public awareness campaigns to educate the public on the threat of these invasive species.

    Senator Schumer has also led the fight against other invasive species like the Gypsy Moth and Southern Pine Beetle. The gypsy moth is especially dangerous to forests in Upstate New York where they feed on and defoliate hemlocks. Each year since 1980, the gypsy moth has defoliated close to a million or more forested acres.

    Today, to secure a financial lifeline for communities across New York State and the country, Schumer announced that his amendment that would allow $2 million in funding to be spent through the loan program to help local communities fund efforts to contain invasive threats was accepted into a bill that is set to pass the Senate later today.

    Schumer added, “Protecting our trees and forests from these invasive species is critical to the continued

    economic and cultural vitality of our forests. This loan program will help our local communities control the spread by reducing the financial burden on their budgets.”

    ###

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