Rep. David Maloney (R-Berks) has concluded that Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration are not serious about containing and eradicating the spotted lanternfly in Pennsylvania after he viewed the administration’s hastily-arranged press conference at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 6.
The area of Berks County that Maloney represents is ground zero for the spotted lanternfly in the United States with the invasive Asian pest having arrived in the 130th District in 2014. Despite the state’s “efforts,” the pest, which threatens $18 billion in Pennsylvania agriculture, has spread from five Pennsylvania counties last year to 13 this year.
Maloney is concerned, but not surprised, that the administration did not alert him or his constituents about the press conference.
“Such transparency from this administration, but sadly, playing politics with folks’ livelihoods is par for the course with the Wolf crew,” Maloney said. “Three people from the press were present, which is what happens when you spring a 9:30 a.m., Monday press conference on people and also present were folks from our Department of Agriculture who have told my constituents ‘don’t talk to the state representative’ on this.”
“Because the state has not acted with urgency, I had to work with Congressman Ryan Costello to get $17.5 million in federal funds for this problem, and I am now very concerned this money will be squandered on ‘studying the problem’ rather than addressing it proactively. This concern is underpinned by the fact that Pennsylvania’s point person on spotted lanternfly has now left to work for the USDA and the lead state entomologist for our state Department of Agriculture has left for Washington State.”
On Aug. 1, New Jersey officials instituted a quarantine for three counties in the hopes of stopping a tree-destroying insect from spreading to other parts of the Garden State. The quarantine in Warren, Mercer and Hunterdon counties is similar to the quarantines unsuccessfully instituted in Pennsylvania.