The United States Senate passed a bill on Wednesday to amend the Nutria Eradication and Control Act. The legislation is aimed at preventing invasive nutria from continuing to destroy America's coastal wetlands.

The bill was a bipartisan effort introduced by Louisiana Senator John Kennedy and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.

The bill authorizes an additional $6 million a year to increase assistance for states participating in the Nutria Eradication Program. This program provides funding to states to take the actions needed to eliminate the invasive species.

"While Louisiana's marshlands provide a habitat to some of America's most beautiful wildlife, they are also the first line of defense against damaging storms. Nutria have already destroyed thousands of acres of wetland along our coast, putting Louisianians and our ecosystems at greater risk. I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate for passing this bipartisan bill. Now, I hope it quickly becomes law to save communities from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean from these destructive swamp rats," said Kennedy.

The bill also allows all states eligible to participate in the program and appropriates financial assistance based on the total area of a state that is affected by nutria.

"The nutria rodent threatens to overwhelm our farms and wetlands if we don't act. In California, there could be as many as 250,000 nutria within five years that could cause more than $1.2 billion a year in agriculture losses and eradication costs. I'm pleased that the Senate passed our bill to stop this invasive species before the infestation gets out of hand," said Feinstein.

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