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Fighting to restore anti-terrorism funding

By Maggie Fleming


Buffalo, NY – Area leaders are speaking out against a plan to remove the Buffalo-Niagara region from anti-terrorism funding.

Western New York Congressman Brian Higgins joined other local leaders Friday in Buffalo to express their opposition to a federal budget cut.

The proposed federal funding cuts would result in the region losing millions of anti-terrorism funding.

The Urban Area Security Initiative program is funded by the Department of Homeland Security.

Congressman Higgins voiced his outraged. He said this region is a border community to Canada and is need of terrorism prevention.

"Western New York uses these funds for joint training preparedness in response to a potential terrorist attack on the Buffalo-Niagara region. The final federal 2011 budget cut the Urban Area Security Initiative by $162 million from $887 million to $725 million," said Congressman Higgins.

Buffalo-Niagara is among 33-regions that will no longer quality for the funds.

City of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster joins Higgins in his fight.

"I know how important Homeland Security funding is for this region. When conducting our hazard evaluation we received a perfect' score, which in this case means we are perfectly positioned as a target. We serve as the home to international infrastructure, a large chemical industry, and hydro-electric power important to the Northeast, as demonstrated by the New York City blackout of 1965. Security funding protects international commerce, defends us against chemical spills and keeps the lights from going out far beyond Western New York. And that's just the beginning of why it's important to us here and for the security of the nation as a whole," said Dyster.

Funding from the Urban Area Security Initiative will only go to larger cities.

"Without this funding, Erie County will face challenges training and preparing our first responders to be on the ready for actual and potential terrorism events," said Gregory Skibitsky, Erie County Commissioner of Emergency Services.