Rooney Cosponsors Bill to Combat Citrus Greening
Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Tom Rooney (FL-17), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, today joined Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-16) as a cosponsor of legislation to combat citrus greening, a highly contagious bacterial disease that threatens to cripple Florida’s citrus industry.
“The economy in my district depends on citrus, and if we’re not growing, the world isn’t drinking orange juice,” Rooney said. “We have to find a cure for citrus greening, or it’s going to continue to wipe out our growers, hurt our economy, and cost us jobs.”
Rooney noted that since 2005, citrus greening has cost Florida 8,200 jobs and $4.5 billion in economic damages.
The bipartisan bill has no cost to the taxpayer. Instead, it creates a trust fund, financed by existing tariffs on imported citrus, devoted to finding a cure for citrus greening. It will be funded up to $30 million annually.
The bill has 22 cosponsors and is the House companion to legislation offered by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL). Supporters of the bill include Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, and Florida Citrus Mutual.
Citrus greening first appeared in Florida citrus groves in 2005, and it spread to all 32 citrus-growing counties within two years. It now affects crops in California, Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Hawaii.