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Collins: 'There will never be a cut to Great Lakes restoration funding'

Don't expect cuts to the federal program that funded the cleanup of the Buffalo River, sturgeon restoration in the Niagara River, beach forecasting programs on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and other research and rehabilitation efforts in the Great Lakes, Rep. Chris Collins said Saturday.

"There will never be a cut to Great Lakes restoration funding because that would never go through the appropriations process," Collins said.

The Clarence congressman, who said Saturday that he "had the ear of the president," made it clear funding for Great Lakes cleanup wasn't in jeopardy despite President Donald J. Trump's proposed 2018 budget proposal.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush and continued by President Barack Obama, provides $300 million annually to rehabilate the lakes.

Collins called Trump's budget proposal "nothing more than a message."

"His message was he's strong on defense," Collins said. "And, under the rules, (he) had to find off-setting cuts, but they're never going to occur."

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