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Michigan will get less federal money to fight ash borer

DETROIT (AP) -- Michigan will receive $1.23 million in federal funds this year to battle the emerald ash borer, which has killed at least 16 million ash trees in the state.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has set aside a total of $10 million to fight the wood-boring insect. Ohio and Indiana, the two states with the worst infestations after Michigan, will receive $2.5 million and $700,000, respectively.

The rest will go to the USDA for administrative costs, Pat Lockwood, emerald ash borer policy director for Gov. Jennifer Granholm, said Thursday.

The three states are still waiting to hear how another $7.5 million in USDA emergency funds will be divided among them. That money awaits approval from the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, the Detroit Free Press reported in Friday editions.

Federal subsidies for fighting the ash borer have dropped sharply since the beetle was first identified in North America in 2002. It is believed to have arrived from Asia in imported wood packaging or crating material.

Michigan asked for $25 million in federal money for 2005 but received $12.7 million. For 2006, the state had again sought $25 million.

Less federal support means Michigan will focus this year on surveying the infestation and monitoring the movement of firewood and lumber outside infested areas, Lockwood said.

The borer, a tiny, green beetle that's smaller than a penny, lays eggs within ash wood. The larvae eat through the trees' circulatory systems, depriving them of water.
 

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The state is more or less giving up. It's essentially being left up to cities and individuals to remove or try to save trees. Ann Arbor is going to remove all the Ash trees in the city.
 
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