Federal lawmakers, including several from Wisconsin, reintroduced measures Friday that would coordinate and increase federal response to chronic wasting disease, which has afflicted deer and elk herds in eight states.
In the Senate, Colorado Republican Sen. Wayne Allard introduced a bill that calls for $34.5 million in federal funding to track chronic wasting disease and expand testing and research into the debilitating disease. The bill would set aside millions in grants for wildlife management, among other targets.
The bill was referred to a committee, where it awaits further action.
Wisconsin Democratic Sens. Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl were among the six other senators who co-sponsored the bill. It was the second time Allard introduced such legislation.
”The goal of this new legislation is to put in place a coordinated effort to battle chronic wasting disease, and to emphasize the importance of its eradication,” Allard said in a written statement.
Allard said the unified approach would ensure that agriculture and interior officials have sufficient resources to aid states battling the disease.
Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., reintroduced similar legislation in the House. The bipartisan measure is co-sponsored by Rep. Mark Green, R-Wis.
His legislation would provide funding to state agencies charged with researching methods to diagnose and control the spread of chronic wasting disease and would direct the federal government to create a unified plan that supports state decision-makers in that mission.
Chronic wasting disease, a neurological condition, causes animals to grow thin, act abnormally and eventually die.
The disease was first discovered in Wisconsin near Mount Horeb in February 2002 – the first time CWD was found east of the Mississippi River.