WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Two Pennsylvania lawmakers want to protect farmers and their crops from not only the impact of the coronavirus, but a bigger bug you can see called the spotted lanternfly.
“It threatens our crops, it threatens our agricultural tourism industry and so it is estimated that the impact on just Pennsylvania’s economy could be as much as 18 billion dollars,” Pennsylvania Democrat Chrissy Houlahan said.
Houlahan, along with Pennsylvania Republican Glenn “GT” Thompson, are working to secure 16 million dollars from the USDA to combat the spotted lanternfly.
“It’s one of the most beautiful looking, almost looks like a butterfly, that you would ever see. But it’s one of the most devastating insects for Pennsylvania,” Thompson said.
It’s a one-two punch for farmers and their crops. First the coronavirus and now the lanternfly.
“Two very very destructive and very very concerning bugs in our community at the same time,” Houlahan said.
“If this was a football game, there’d be yellow flags flying everywhere for piling on,” Thompson said.
Both Houlahan and Thompson say it will take more than $16 million to solve the problem, but this would be a step in the right direction.
“This insect started in our community, roughly speaking, but it is spreading unfortunately because we do need to combat this,” Houlahan said.
The money would pay for research efforts to control and eradicate the species.