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Appropriations Bill Includes Funding To Fight Mormon Cricket

Supplemental appropriations attached to Legislative Branch Appropriations bill passes full Senate

WASHINGTON, DC - An amendment, backed by Idaho Senators Larry Craig and MikeCrapo, and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), to provide $20 million to be evenly divided between Idaho, Nevada, and Utah for suppression and control of the Mormon cricket infestation on public and privatelands passed the full Senate today. The amendment was added to a $2 billion emergency supplementalspending package requested by the President and attached to the fiscal year 2004 Legislative BranchAppropriations bill. In addition, the bill includes $289 million for wildfire suppression and emergency rehabilitation activities for fiscal year 2003.â??This is a big boost to our states limited resources to deal with what has been the constant andserious problem of Mormon crickets,â?? said Senator Larry Craig, a member of the Senate AgricultureAppropriations Subcommittee. â??Suppression of these insects will benefit our farmers, ranchers,wildlife, and the overall quality of Idaho lands. This is a big win for western states suffering from thisplague as well as continuing drought conditions.â??â??The infestation of Mormon crickets presents Idaho's agriculture community with a significantchallenge, and the funding provided in this amendment will better enable us to tackle this problem,â??Senator Mike Crapo who is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said. "Our farmers andranchers need assurance that their commodities will reach maturity, and I am pleased that Congress hasapproved $20 million to address this issue.â??Mormon cricket infestations have continually damaged critical habitat, grazing lands, andcroplands in Idaho and throughout the West in recent years. This legislation would provideapproximately $7 million to bolster Idahoâ??s defense against the outbreak. The supplemental packagewill be subject to a House-Senate Conference later this month.[30]