Last week, Congresswoman Kat Cammack (R-FL-03) and Congressman Al Lawson (D-FL-05) led a bipartisan letter with members of the Florida congressional delegation to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting an expeditious approval of Vismax, a biochemical pesticide used for citrus greening.
Citrus greening, a disease that impairs trees' ability to take in nourishment, has negatively impacted nearly every farm in Florida and can drastically reduce the productivity of a tree within just two years. Today, citrus greening has caused Florida’s citrus industry to shrink by more than two-thirds and has caused over $8 billion in economic losses, with thousands of jobs lost. The letter asks the EPA to rapidly approve the use of Vismax in preventing citrus greening, so the industry may access this product before the start of the 2022 growing season this October.
"I'm pleased to join Rep. Lawson in leading this letter with my colleagues," said Rep. Cammack. "As the lone Florida Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, I’m committed to ensuring that our domestic producers have access to products and materials that will increase productivity, generate economic growth, and create jobs across the Sunshine State. Without EPA approval of Vismax, the citrus industry will experience crippling losses at the hands of infected trees, which is why we need to make this safe and effective treatment readily available to our citrus producers."
"It is critical that we provide Florida citrus growers with every possible resource to combat citrus greening," said Rep. Lawson. "Vismax is a tool that can be effective in preventing further devastation to the state’s successful citrus industry. Approval of this resource must be accelerated to maintain our growers’ livelihood."
The letter earned the support of Florida Citrus Mutual. Original signees of the letter include Reps. Cammack and Lawson, Reps. Bill Posey, Carlos Gimenez, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Gus Bilirakis, Frederica Wilson, John Rutherford, Maria Elvira Salazar, Mario Diaz-Balart, Michael Waltz, and Scott Franklin.