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Montana Keeps Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine Rules

Little green beetle munches on leaves
Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program
The emerald ash borer (June 28, 2016)

Montana is adopting emergency measures to keep tree killing invasive beetles away from state greenery after the federal government lifted national quarantine regulations Thursday.

The emerald ash borer has killed millions of ash trees in North America since the federal government put regulations into place in 2003, but the green beetle has so far left Montana wood intact.

The state Department of Agriculture wants to keep it that way with a new order that prohibits bringing ash trees, other potential beetle carriers and the beetles themselves into the state.

Agricultural Sciences Administrator Ian Foley says the tiny green beetle is a pricey threat for urban trees in central and eastern Montana.

“[The] emerald ash borer comes into a city, and it kills a lot of the city’s street trees and then the city forestry departments have to manage those trees, and that’s our major concern in Montana,” says Foley.

He says Montana has remained borer-free because clusters of ash trees are isolated and don’t carry the beetle across large swaths of land regionally.

So, while the federal government is moving away from its current regulations towards containment of existing outbreaks of the beetle, Montana will keep prevention regulations in place.

The state is accepting public comment until February 5. Comments can be sent to:

Montana Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 200201
Helena, MT 59620-0201

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.