Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

WV State News

January 10, 2013

New W.Va. ag chief opposes cutting pest programs

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia's incoming agriculture commissioner says the state can't afford to eliminate a black fly spraying program in southern counties.

Walt Helmick also says the state shouldn't cut funding for another program aimed at reducing the gypsy moth population.

The Register-Herald (http://bit.ly/U7pTL1 ) reports that longtime Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass proposed both cuts before leaving office. They are in response to the governor's mandatory 7.5 percent spending cut for state agencies.

Helmick tells the newspaper that both pest control programs are vital. He says state officials must find other areas in the budget to cut.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's spokeswoman, Amy Shuler-Goodwin, says all proposed cuts are still being reviewed.

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