Nebraska officials seek new uses for downed ash trees

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- An invasive insect that threatens millions of ash trees throughout Nebraska is creating a new challenge for state and local officials who will have to chop them down: what to do with all of the wood.

The challenge could fall to Nebraska lawmakers, who are looking at options in the face of tight budgets that have kept them from pouring money into tree removal programs.

Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln plans to discuss the problems created by the emerald ash borer with city officials and other lawmakers between now and next year's session.

Nebraska has nearly 47 million ash trees that are at risk, including 1 million on city-owned land. Scott Josiah of the Nebraska Forest Service says his agency is testing various uses for the wood.