(WKBN) — Senators introduced legislation Wednesday in an effort to combat the negative agricultural effects created by the Spotted Lanternfly.

Pennsylvania U.S. Senators John Fetterman (D) and Bob Casey (D-PA), along with Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the Spotted Lanternfly Research and Development Act on Wednesday.

The bipartisan legislation would designate the Spotted Lanternfly — an invasive species that poses a threat to the nation’s agricultural economy — as a high-priority research initiative for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Spotted lanternflies were first detected in Pennsylvania in 2014. They have since spread throughout the Commonwealth and are currently found in 51 counties, all of which are under a state-imposed quarantine.

Studies estimate that the species could cost the state $324 million annually if not contained because of the significant damage they cause to many pieces of critical agriculture.

“Spotted lanternflies ravage crops that are critical to Pennsylvania’s economy including grapevines, apples, peaches, hops and more,” Sen. Fetterman said. “Since 2014, they have cost the Commonwealth millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.”