Nebraska Faces Big Bill As Pest Kills Thousands Of Ash Trees

Nebraska Faces Big Bill As Pest Kills Thousands Of Ash Trees

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraskans will need to spend nearly $1 billion over the next few decades to remove ash trees killed by an invasive pest, but local governments probably won’t be able to afford the cost and it’s not clear how much help they’ll get from the state.

Lawmakers renewed their search last week for ways to fix the damage caused by the emerald ash borer, a major threat to the state’s ash trees. State officials have already confirmed the insect’s presence in Nebraska and acknowledged they have no way to stop it.

Sen. John Stinner, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, has introduced a legislative study to seek solutions, but he said he doesn’t know whether he’ll propose additional state funding in the upcoming session.

Lawmakers have faced several years of tight budgets, and many senators are focusing on lowering property taxes and other spending priorities. Stinner, of Gering, said it’s too early to tell whether senators will act in next year’s session