U.S. Senator Kristen Gillibrand has sponsored legislation that aims to stop the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer beetle.

Government Briefs

Maybe We Should Build A Wall

They sneak into our country unannounced, spread all over, and yes, eat our beloved ash trees. Truly, the Emerald Ash Borer beetle “will devastate New York’s ecology and forest industries if action is not taken.”

Or at least according to U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, who wants to get rid of the little buggers.

And that’s not all. Those sneaky Asian Carp threaten the wellbeing of the Great Lakes ecosystems, which provide drinking water to over 30 million Americans, support a $7 billion fishing industry and a $15.5 billion boating industry, and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“Whether it’s Asian Carp in our lakes or the Emerald Ash Borer in our forests, invasive species threaten our environment and our economy, and we have to do everything we can to block them from coming into our state,” Gillibrand said. She has proposed bipartisan legislation, along with New York Congressman Elise Stefanik, to address the problem of injurious critters finding their way into the state.

“The Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act would help better protect our precious natural resources, strengthen our economy, draw tourism to our state, and provide clean drinking water to New Yorkers. I urge my colleagues to address this problem and pass this legislation,” Gillibrand said.

The act would give the United States Fish and Wildlife Service greater authority to regulate nonnative species and prohibit them from being imported or sold in the United States. The USFWS regulates species considered to be harmful to the wildlife and natural resources of the U.S. These species, referred to as “injurious wildlife,” cannot be imported into the U.S. or its territories, or be transported through interstate commerce, without a USFWS permit.

More than 200 species are listed as “injurious wildlife.” Under the current system, this designation happens after a species has already been introduced to the U.S. and is causing harm to our environment and economy. This legislation would address the threat of potentially invasive species before they can be imported.

Traffic Safety Project

Assemblyman Fred Thiele announced on July 12 a $2.6 million preventative maintenance project to enhance traffic safety and upgrade the roadways of more than 54 miles of state highway on the East End. The South Fork roadways included in this project are State Route 27 from Suffolk County Route 39 to Stephen Hands Path in the Towns of Southampton and East Hampton, and State Route 27 from State Route 114 to Etna Avenue in the Town of East Hampton.

The New York State Department of Transportation will clean debris from pavement cracks and seal them with quick-setting, plastic-fiber-enriched hot liquid asphalt, which will help prevent road deterioration. These treatments are done within a few years of a road’s resurfacing to extend the new pavement’s life.

Work has been scheduled to avoid closures on weekends or around holidays to minimize inconvenience during the summer tourism season. The project is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2019.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com