WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pennsylvania U.S. Senator John Fetterman, along with Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today introduced the Spotted Lanternfly Research and Development Act. The bipartisan legislation would designate the Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive species that poses a significant threat to our nation’s agricultural economy, as a high-priority research initiative for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Spotted lanternflies were first detected in Pennsylvania in 2014. They have since spread throughout the Commonwealth and are currently found in 51 counties, all of which are under a state-imposed quarantine. Studies estimate that the species could cost the state $324 million annually if not contained because of the significant damage they cause many pieces of critical agriculture.

“Spotted lanternflies ravage crops that are critical to Pennsylvania’s economy including grapevines, apples, peaches, hops, and more,” said Sen. Fetterman. “Since 2014, they have cost the Commonwealth millions of dollars and thousands of jobs. I am proud to lead this bipartisan bill to combat this invasive species and protect our farmers.”

“From Pittsburgh to Scranton to Lancaster, the spotted lanternfly has wreaked havoc on Pennsylvania’s agricultural and forestry industries, threatening both the livelihoods of farmers and forest landowners who have lost crops and revenue to the invasive species and the communities across Pennsylvania that depend on them,” said Sen. Casey. “The Spotted Lanternfly Research and Development Act will provide Pennsylvanians with resources to combat the spotted lanternfly’s spread, mitigate its impact, and protect our food sources and our families.”

Representatives Joe Morelle (D-NY), Nick Langworthy (R-NY), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), and Mike Kelly (R-PA) have introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.