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Erie County legislator circulates petition to protest proposed cuts to Great Lakes program

Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke wants President Trump to hear from area residents about the importance of the Great Lakes to Buffalo.

The Democratic legislator from South Buffalo circulated an online petition opposing the Trump administration's reported plan for a drastic cut to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Great Lakes restoration program reportedly facing drastic funding cut

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was put in place in the early 2000s by President George W. Bush and continued by President Barack Obama.

Locally, it's led to the clean up of the Buffalo River, wildlife and environmental improvements in the Niagara River corridor and for programs in lakes Erie and Ontario among others.

"We've made an awful lot of progress here," Burke said from the rooftop of County Hall Tuesday afternoon. "The funds needed to continue the restoration stop when those cuts are made."

No official plan has been set forth by the Trump administration, but a document published by the Portland Oregonian late last week showed funds for the Great Lakes would be cut from $300 million to about $10 million annually.

Similar cuts would be made for environmental cleanups in Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico regions.

"This community should be outraged by these projections," Burke said.

Burke said when the petition reaches 10,000 signatures, he will submit it to the White House.

At least 1,000 signatures were already obtained in the first day of the petition being posted online, Burke said.


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