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Spotted lanternfly permits are meant to control the destructive pests, but not all Pa. businesses comply

PennLive.com logo PennLive.com 10/21/2021 Marcus Schneck, pennlive.com

On the heels of inspections in western Pennsylvania that found more than half of businesses with spotted lanternfly permits in violation of requirements, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will focus its next round of inspections on businesses in Cumberland and York counties.

The department announced that inspections of businesses in the two central Pennsylvania counties will begin Oct. 25.

“We’ve been saying for a long time now that businesses are an important part of the fight against the spotted lanternfly and they should protect with a permit,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “With a spotted lanternfly business permit and an educated workforce, we can stop this threat in its tracks while keeping business and commerce moving, trade and consumers protected.”

The department began canvassing businesses in Pennsylvania’s 34 counties quarantined for the pest in July. Blair County was the first county canvassed, followed by Lackawanna County in August, and Allegheny, Beaver and Westmoreland counties in September.

The most recent western Pennsylvania county canvassing included 100 business site visits, of which 58 received non-compliance notices. Those given notice of non-compliance have 30 days before they could be subject to fines.

Businesses that operate or do business in quarantined counties are required to obtain a free permit, which comes with the responsibility of maintaining a trained, engaged workforce. The permits are for businesses that move products or vehicles within or out of the quarantine zone and are meant to control the pests’ spread.

Violators of permit requirements are subject to fines of up to $300 per violation plus associated court costs.

According to the department, the spotted lanternfly business permit and inspection canvassing program aims to raise awareness of the value of quarantine compliance actions that work to slow the spread in this invasive pest.

Spotted lanternflies, which are native to Asia, were first found in Berks County in 2014 and have since led to quarantine for 34 counties in Pennsylvania, as well as counties in several other states.

In Pennsylvania, a Spotted Lanternfly Business Toolkit has been created to help businesses learn about why the spotted lanternfly is bad, how the quarantine works, if they need a permit and the responsibilities of holding a permit.

For more information, visit the department’s spotted lanternfly webpage.

Contact Marcus Schneck at mschneck@pennlive.com.

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