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Local officials speak out on climate change

Chris Caya/wbfo news

Some of the areas elected leaders, including Congressman Brian Higgins, are calling on the community to join them in supporting President Obama's plan to fight climate change.

Despite some skeptics, Higgins says empirical evidence indicates climate change is upon us. The Great Lakes are at historic low levels and the lakes are warmer which have led to record setting toxic algae blooms.  

"What happens is when there's a proliferation of algae,when that algae dies, it falls to the bottom and sucks out all the oxygen. And much like human life, aquatic life requires oxygen," Higgins said.

"You create dead zones in the Great Lakes. That has a negative impact in terms of fishing, recreation and the economy."

The President's plan calls for reducing carbon pollution from power plants, accelerating the use of clean energy and cutting energy waste in homes and businesses.

Higgins says he'll also be fighting a recent House Subcommittee proposal that would cut Great Lakes clean- up funding by 80 percent.

"The combination of public money, $22 million in federal money, and then $22 million in private money, in foundation money, is paying for the remediation of the Buffalo River which was abused for decades by direct industrial toxic discharges."

"We have made major progress.," Higgins said.

"This is not the time to turn back."