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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Joe Morelle (NY-25)

Colleagues and Stakeholders in brewing, winemaking industry joined in calling for urgent action to address the spread of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Morelle was joined by colleagues and stakeholders in our nation’s beer and wine industry to call on U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Plant Health Inspection Service Administration Kevin Shea to take action in addressing the alarming spread of the Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) across the northeastern, midwestern, and northwestern United States.

This letter comes following Rep. Morelle’s December 2nd letter to the USDA, emphasizing how dire the situation has become and how urgent mitigative efforts are needed.

“We know that this invasive species is prone to feed on grapevines and hop plants, potentially desecrating brewers’ and wine makers’ livelihood,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “With more than 15 states having reported sightings of the SLF, inaction to address its spread risks the loss of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity. I urge the USDA to act immediately and swiftly to protect our beer and wine industry from further damage.”

“Invasive species are a constant problem for our environment and America’s agricultural industry,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-16), Co-Chair of the House Small Brewers Caucus. “The spotted lanternfly has become a particular challenge for our nation’s hop and grape growers. In Pennsylvania alone, the SLF could cost hundreds of millions in economic damage and eliminate thousands of jobs. It is time to take the next step to protect our farmers and harvesters from this threat.”

“New York State has become a national leader in both the wine and craft brewing industries and the Spotted Lanternfly is putting our industries in jeopardy if something more isn’t done quickly,” said Paul Leone, Executive Director of the New York State Brewers Association. “The wine and brewing industry is a combined $12 billion economic impact and is responsible for over 92,000 jobs, we applaud Congressman Morelle’s leadership and proactive effort for increased funding to fight this non-native invasive species.”

“Spotted Lanternfly has the potential to decimate our state’s vineyards, threatening the viability of New York’s $6.65 billion wine and grape juice industry,” said Benjamin Houlton, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “We cannot be fragmented in our approach to tackle this threat region by region. All resources to monitor, eradicate and develop solutions should be deployed, including support from Cornell CALS’ research and outreach programs. I applaud Congressman Morelle and all members of Congress who are acknowledging the critical importance of this threat. Cornell CALS stands at the ready to leverage the expertise of our Integrated Pest Management Program and our researchers to partner with growers and implement sustainable solutions.”

“Spotted lanternfly poses a serious threat to New York’s grape growing industry and create an undue burden on grape growers who already experienced lower than expected yields in 2020 due to frost damage,” said Sam Filler, Executive Director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.  “Additional support is needed from USDA to ensure the New York vineyards are properly prepared to protect themselves from this invasive species.”

“We are very grateful that Representative Morelle has taken a proactive leadership role in seeking to avoid potential damage to the American grape and wine industry from the invasive Spotted Lanternfly. This pest can quickly decimate entire grape crops, and spreads very quickly, with more than a dozen states having reported infestations. There are wineries in all 50 states, and the American wine industry contributes more than $220 billion to the American economy, with much of that in rural areas where grapes are grown. This action can help protect the agricultural part of our industry.”  Jim Trezise, President, WineAmerica (National Association of American Wineries).

Rep. Morelle was joined by 44 bipartisan Members of Congress in sending the letter to the USDA.

The full letter is below.