Members of the Legislature’s Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Conversation voted unanimously on Tuesday in support of a proposal by Rep. Allison Hepler, D-Woolwich, that would help communities reduce their browntail moth populations.

LD 1929, An Act To Provide Assistance to Areas Severely Infested with Browntail Moths, would create a fund for municipalities and nonprofit organizations, such as a land trust, to use to control moth populations. The bill also directs the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to administer the program and establishes two positions within the department to support the management of forest insect pests.

Hepler was inspired to submit the bill after the state entomologist told her that one of the best ways to reduce browntail moth populations is by clipping their nests from trees.

“My bill is a first step towards solving the problem of browntail moths,” said Hepler. “LD 1929 sets up a framework for the state to support efforts on a local level. While house-by house or town-by-town solutions are not sufficient, providing resources for communities across Maine to engage in the effort to reduce browntail moths can be synergistic. I was very pleased to have my colleagues support this approach.”

The bill will face consideration by the full Legislature in the coming weeks.

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