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Editorial Roundup: States should continue fight against ash borer

Minnesota has the most ash trees of any state at an estimated 1 billion.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced its deregulation of the emerald ash borer, meaning it will no longer strive to limit the spread of the invasive insect through use of quarantines, permits and compliance agreements that regulated the movement of wood that could be infested by the borer.

Essentially, the federal government cites that the pest is already in 30 states and has given up control of the fight. It’s good news, however, that the USDA will dedicate resources to biological control research, such as determining predators that destroy the borer.

We think it’s the right move that the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is going to continue regulating the pest to try to at least slow the spread as much as possible.

Even though 25 of Minnesota’s 87 counties are infested, the rate of spread across the state in 11 years is 60 percent slower than in most states that have the borer, according to Mark Abrahamson, director of the state ag department’s Plant Protection Division.

Slowing down the infestation gives the forest industry, plant nurseries, cities and home owners more time to come up with a plan of action for when the borer arrives. The state ag department recommends delaying treatment until the ash borer has been found within 15 miles of a particular property.

The city of Mankato alone has more ash trees than any other type, except for maples. That ash number is fluid now, however, as the city continues to replace the trees because infestation is inevitable. The borer is in Sibley, Martin, Scott and Steele counties already.

Minnesotans can do their part to slow the spread of the infestation by not moving firewood from place to place in the state or from out of state. The wood can easily harbor the borer and then introduce it to areas not yet infested.

The borer is inevitable, but the state should continue to do what it can to stop the spread.

—Mankato Free Press, Dec. 21

About Editorial Roundup

Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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