AB 571 would have appropriated 5 million dollars from the general fund to fight citrus diseases including Huanglongbing, which is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid, and other diseases like citrus leprosis, citrus variegated chlorosis, and citrus canker.
California Citrus Mutual president Joel Nelsen says the governor’s veto of AB 571 “is a clear message to our industry that citrus no longer has a home in California.”
“AB 571 passed through four committees and two houses of the state legislature without opposition,” Nelsen continues. “The Governor vetoed a bill designed to protect Southern California home owners, the commercial citrus industry, and the pioneering use of biological control to stop the Asian citrus psyllid and deadly citrus disease Huanglongbing. He sent the same message 30 years ago with his unwillingness to eradicate the medfly and now California’s $2 billion iconic citrus industry has been given the same message – that we are not important.”
The California citrus industry has assessed itself more than $60 million in detection and treatment for the Asian citrus psyllid. The federal government has put in an estimated $40 million in an effort to protect the nation’s number one fresh citrus industry. The state of Florida has financially partnered with their industry to defend against the ravages of Huanglongbing.
Read more of Nelsen’s comments here.