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Higgins: A Dismantling or Elimination of the EPA Would be Devastating to Western New York

Feb 16, 2017
Press Release
New Legislation & Plans for Executive Orders Raise Questions About the Future of the Agency that Oversees Clean Air & Water Policies

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) says Western New York and the Country would have a great deal to lose if actions are taken to dismantle or eliminate the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  

The future of the EPA is currently in question with the introduction of a bill that would eliminate the agency entirely, the Administration’s EPA nomination of Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator, who has a record of opposing the EPA’s air and water protections, and recent reports that President Trump is planning Executive Orders relative to the EPA in the coming days.

Congressman Higgins spoke about the critical role of the EPA in remarks on the House Floor:

(To access video click above or go to:

“Mr. Speaker: In a time of seeming uncertainty, I rise to affirm the great work of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“In my home community of Buffalo, New York we have seen the EPA’s effectiveness firsthand.  Thirty years ago the Buffalo River was declared biologically dead and ecologically destroyed because of industrial dumping of toxic waste directly into the river bed.

Today the Buffalo River has been remediated and continues to show vastly improved water quality.  The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative administered by the EPA, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and corporate partner Honeywell has invested more than $70 million to remove 67,000 truckloads of toxic waste from the Buffalo River. 

Today the Buffalo River and adjacent land is helping to lead an economic and life quality renaissance at the water’s edge in Buffalo, New York.    

The EPA leads the US effort to restore and protect the Great Lakes including the oversight of issues ranging from legacy sediment and beach quality to invasive species and shoreline protection.  In 1987 the Buffalo River was designated as one of 43 Areas of Concern under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.  The EPA and other stakeholders have worked to improve and restore the health of the Buffalo River, which was once declared “ecologically dead.”  In the last decade the federal government has invested $72.8 million in and around the Buffalo River and it is on track to be removed from the Area of Concern list by 2019. 

The EPA has also played a critical role in local issues of great environmental and community impact including: the creation of the Steel Winds site in Lackawanna, support for a new green-job training program led by PUSH Buffalo, the cleanup of superfund sites, and the protection of Western New York residents against clean-air violations by Tonawanda Coke, just to name a few.