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House committee releases bill that would fund Great Lakes restoration in 2018

The federal program that helped pay for the cleanup of the Buffalo River, fight invasive species in the Great Lakes and restore sturgeon in Buffalo Harbor is fully funded in the 2018 appropriations bill released by the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.

The bill calls for $300 million to support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement programs when the fiscal year starts on Oct. 1.

It also calls for $7.5 billion in funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Although that's a cut of $528 million from 2017, it's $1.9 billion more than the budget request by President Donald J. Trump, according to an appropriations committee statement.

Earlier this year, Trump's budget outline called for eliminating funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

In a meeting with reporters last weekend, Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, said he supported the initiative and predicted the program would be fully funded.

Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, who was outspoken against Trump's plan to gut the program, took to Twitter late Tuesday afternoon to announce the appropriations committee's plan to retain it.

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