Nevada, Utah, Idaho get $20 million to fight crickets

RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Congress has approved $20 million to help combat an infestation of Mormon crickets in Nevada, Utah and Idaho, and for the first time the money can be spent on private as well as public land.

The money will be divided equally among the three states to help control and eradicate the hopping pests, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said.

The cricket infestation this summer damaged crops and disrupted businesses and local residents across the region, Reid said. He said Elko County exhausted a $35,000 emergency fund to deal with the crickets and he's sure that the same thing happened in other communities.

Reid said the money is needed not only to control the existing problem but to begin suppressing breeding of crickets for next year.

Gov. Kenny Guinn praised Reid, Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., and Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., for securing the money as part of the annual Interior Department spending bill.

"For the first time, federal funding gives the states the ability to fight Mormon Crickets on private property," Guinn said Friday.

"In the past, the legislation has limited abatement to public lands," he said.


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