President Trump is expected to sign an executive order Tuesday rolling back rules to curb harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants. It's the latest move by Trump to stall environmental clean up efforts.
Despite strong support from members of Congress since it became law in 2009, Trump's proposed budget would eliminate about $300 million a year for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Representative Brian Higgins points out that only Congress can pass a budget. And Higgins says, on issues like cleaning up the Great Lakes, there is a bi-partisan coalition influenced by region, not party politics.
"He's going to have stiff, stiff competition. You think you're going to get steam-rolled on healthcare. You wait to you propose something so hurtful as elimination of the funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative," Higgins said.
Locally, the program's funded the removal of toxic waste from the Buffalo River and restored wildlife habitat. Higgins questions why Trump wants to also pull back on automobile fuel efficiency standards?
"It doesn't put America at a disadvantage because foreign car makers, who bring their cars to the American market, have to adhere to the same standards," Higgins said.
He also points out that the Middle East has about the same population as the U.S. But it's exports are about the same as Finland.
"Why do they have leverage over us? Because of our addiction to their oil. So fuel efficiency standards not only produce more favorable conditions for the environment, but they also are much more favorable as it relates to national security," the Buffalo Democrat said.
Producing electric cars and more fuel efficient cars, he says, is what creates jobs in the auto industry. Not going backwards.