WASHINGTON, DC – Three members of New York’s upstate Congressional delegation whose districts border on Lake Ontario are asking the State Department to issue a report on the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) Plan 2014 and damages to the lake shoreline last Spring. Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27), Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22), and Congressman John Katko (NY-24) have requested that House of Representative Speaker Paul Ryan and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen require this report in the upcoming legislation that will fund the State Department for the current fiscal year.
Their request comes as a result of unprecedented flooding which caused damage to shoreline homes, businesses and municipalities which many believe where due to the implementation of Plan 2014 by the IJC. The report would require an assessment of damages and options for compensation to those impacted by the flooding.
“My constituents deserve more answers about the significant flooding along the Lake Ontario shoreline that took place last year,” said Collins. “It’s important to understand the true impacts of Plan 2014 so we can find a workable solution moving forward. I’m confident that the Trump Administration is close to replacing the commissioners on the IJC with individuals that will get rid of this disastrous plan.”
“Last year’s flooding of Lake Ontario caused significant damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure across the region,” said Tenney. “Plan 2014, approved by the Obama Administration, has been one of the major contributors to the damage the Lake Ontario region has experienced. If Plan 2014 remains unaddressed, the high water levels will continue to cause severe damage. It is imperative that language is included in the remaining FY18 Budget to require the State Department to report on the damages to the shoreline of Lake Ontario caused by the 2017 flooding.”
“Together with Reps. Collins and Tenney, I am committed to ensuring shoreline property owners, municipalities, farmers, and businesses are able recover from the severe flooding our region faced in 2017,” said Katko. “As part of this effort, is critical that we take steps to assess the detrimental impact of Plan 2014 on communities along Lake Ontario. Doing so will help our local officials take action to mitigate future damages and increase preparedness.”
In July of last year, Representative Hal Rogers, Chairman of the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee, included this report in their spending bill although it was never signed into law. The House is expected to vote on funding for the remainder of FY18 before March 23, 2018.
To read a copy of the letter, click here.
WILLIAMSVILLE, NY – On the heels of a rural broadband roundtable Friday afternoon with local community leaders, Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) called for easing regulations on internet service providers helping them to invest in underserved communities like northern Niagara, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties.
“It is staggering that 65% of my Congressional district is underserved by high-speed internet, which is why it is so important government and providers work together to make sure our communities have the services they need,” said Collins.
Collins also expressed concern about recent efforts by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Chuck Schumer to implement overbearing regulations that would make it harder to provide internet service in these areas.
“Governor Cuomo and Senator Schumer could hurt rural internet expansion by falsely claiming that the internet is broken and the only way to fix it is more regulations. Their actions would be detrimental by creating more red-tape that providers would have to navigate,” added Collins.
Collins pointed to the Obama Administration’s implementation of heavy-handed rules that deterred internet providers from investing in Western New York’s rural communities. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Collins has worked to correct discrepancies in current law to make sure companies who build the groundwork to provide everyday Americans with internet service are able to continue expansion.
"The promise of reliable and affordable high-speed internet in the rural parts of our counties has been an elusive dream for over seven years, and our residents and businesses continue to be frustrated with the progress to-date,” said David Godfrey, Niagara County Legislator. “Current internet services in the rural areas fall well short of the expectations of our taxpayers, and the promise for newer technology seems well over the horizon. Thank you Congressman Collins for always being here for us."
"Our meeting with Congressman Collins brings continued hope that our counties will receive the technology they deserve and desperately need,” said Lynne Johnson, Orleans County Legislator. “The Congressman has always given his fullest support to the Niagara-Orleans Regional Alliance (NORA) as we push for those services that will help ensure every resident, student, school, small and agribusiness across our two counties, and the entire GLOW region receive internet that is equal to that of more metropolitan areas in New York State."
Collins added: “We need to work together to ensure our communities have the resources they need to run their businesses, pursue educational opportunities, and connect with their loved ones. I am thankful for the support of local leaders that know what is best for Western New York as we continue to fight for an environment where businesses can succeed so consumers can benefit.”
WILLIAMSVILLE, NY – Congressman Chris Collins today released the following statement announcing this year’s Congressional Art Competition and encouraging local high school students in New York’s 27th District to participate.
“Each year I am impressed by the talent of the hardworking students across the 27th District as I review their submissions to the Congressional Art Competition,” said Congressman Collins. “This is a unique opportunity for students to showcase their creativity and an exciting chance to have a piece of artwork hanging in the United States Capitol. One of the events I look forward to the most each spring is the reception celebrating the artists and their work.”
Now in its 36th year, the Congressional Art Competition is open to all high school students who reside in New York’s 27th Congressional District. Last year there were over 70 submissions. The winning artist will receive a round trip flight to Washington, D.C. to see their artwork in the U.S. Capitol, where it will be on display for one year.
Submissions are due to either of Congressman Collins’ two district offices no later than 5:00PM on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. A reception and award ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 14th, 2018 at the Roz Steiner Art Gallery, located on the Genesee Community College campus in Batavia, NY. Local high schools have been notified regarding contest rules and submission guidelines.
Interested students should see their art teacher for details or contact Patrick McKinney from Congressman Collins’ office at (585) 519-4002.
WILLIAMSVILLE, NY – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) announced that four hospitals in his district will receive funding included in the Bipartisan Budget Act so they will be able to continue serving those most in need. The Bipartisan Budget Act provides an extension of the Medicare Dependent Hospital program and Low-Volume hospital payment adjustment for five years, providing necessary certainty to hospitals largely in rural areas.
“This funding means life or death for rural hospitals,” said Collins. “In the event of an emergency, my constituents in need to know that the lights will be on and they have somewhere to go for treatment.”
The hospitals that will receive funding are Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville, Noyes Memorial Hospital in Dansville, United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, and the Wyoming County Community Health System in Warsaw. In total, Collins secured over $8 million for the four hospitals through FY2022.
“The Medicare Dependent Hospital and Medicare Low-Volume payment adjustment help ensure New York's rural and small community hospitals can continue to provide essential healthcare services to patients in need," said HANYS President Bea Grause. "We thank Rep. Collins for supporting the reinstatement and extension of these important policies.”
“We appreciate Congressman Collins' recent efforts in assuring inclusion in the federal budget agreement programs that have been essential for hospitals like WCCHS,” said Donald Eichenauer, CEO of Wyoming County Community Health System. “Over the past decades these programs were generally included in legislation with authorization for only one or two years. The short term extensions put us in a positon where almost annually we had to invest efforts in searching for ways to cut staffing or reduce expenses if the programs were not re-authorized. The five-year extension will give us greater confidence that services can be maintained, jobs retained and our efforts can be focused on continuing patient care at its high level.”
“The Low Volume adjustment is critical for Noyes Hospital to help offset the cost of providing services as well as uncompensated care,” said Amy Pollard, President and CEO of Noyes Memorial Hospital. “Emergency Services at Noyes, and other hospitals, must operate fully staffed 24/7. Last year 14,600 patients were treated at the Mary Saunders Beiermann Emergency Department at Noyes. The continuation of the Medicare payment adjustments helps assure that these vital services remain intact. I am very grateful to Congressman Collins for his support of the rural hospitals and thus, our community.”
Collins added: “I was proud to support this Bipartisan Budget Act and the important funding included for rural hospitals. I have and will continue to stand against any cuts in funding for hospitals in rural communities.”
For more information about the Bipartisan Budget Act, click here.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today joined the families of Flight 3407 as they commemorated the 9th anniversary of the 2009 Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash in Clarence. Throughout the past 9 years, these families have advocated for important flight safety reforms which have led to the longest period in our nation’s history without a fatal commercial crash.
“These families have experienced the ultimate tragedy, suddenly losing a spouse, child, brother or sister, although have never lost their determination to make sure other families don’t have to experience the same heartbreak,” said Collins. “I commend them for their tireless dedication to this important issue.”
Buffalo area families who lost loved ones during the 2009 Colgan crash became vocal advocates for flight safety reform and were instrumental in the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010 being passed into law. This legislation put the flying public’s safety first by enhancing pilot training hours and establishing a pilot record database.
In addition to remembering the lives lost, the group addressed efforts by the nation's regional airlines to water down stronger safety requirements enacted in the aftermath of the crash. In January, Collins spoke with Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao who gave assurance that the pilot training requirements will be kept in place.
Collins added: “During their hardest moments, these families came together to do something that all Americans are thankful for, keeping our skies safe. I will continue to work with the Trump Administration to make sure the safety of our flying public is prioritized and that these important pilot training qualifications are not taken away.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today applauded President Trump’s budget proposal that includes funding for a state-of-the-art fitness facility at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Last year, Collins corresponded with the Air Force to request that funding for this facility be expedited to be included in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget instead of the original proposal for FY21.
“This project needed to be prioritized because the men and women of the 914th Airlift Wing and the Air National Guard 107th Airlift Wing have struggled to meet their physical fitness requirements,” said Collins. “The combination of grueling winters and a current facility with no indoor track forced some service members to delay their fitness tests, running the risk of not being eligible to serve when called upon. This is unacceptable and I thank President Trump for taking these needs into consideration when drafting his budget.”
Aside from not having an indoor track, the current facility has become physically dangerous due to a lack of space for equipment. Because of these conditions, servicemen and women are bused to local universities and fitness centers to meet their needs. Delaying this project to FY21 would have cost the Air Force more money in the long run.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today voted in support of the Bipartisan Budget Act that keeps the government funded through March 23, 2018 as Congress works toward finishing the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations process. The legislation also includes a sensible compromise on budget caps, boosts defense spending, raises the debt ceiling, and includes funding for community health centers, the opioid epidemic, infrastructure, agriculture programs, and disaster relief.
“This legislation is critical to our national security as we are giving Secretary Mattis the funding he needs to rebuild our military and keep Americans safe,” said Collins. “This bill is a big win that accomplishes many of our priorities and provides budget certainty so we can move forward on other important tasks.”
Under this agreement, Congress has ended the sequester for the next two years, providing greater certainty and a much-needed increase in funding for national defense. After eight years under President Obama, our military was left inadequately prepared to defend our country. This agreement also provides for America’s veterans by helping reduce the maintenance backlog at the Veterans Administration.
This deal increases the debt ceiling to March of 2019 so we don’t default on our nation’s obligations. The Bipartisan Budget Act includes $6 billion over two years to combat the opioid crisis and support mental health programs and boosts National Institutes of Health spending. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will be funded for 10 years, community health centers for two years, and multiple Medicare payment policies also received significant extensions.
Additionally, this legislation includes provisions that are critical to farmers in New York State, including improving the Margin Protection Program (MPP) for dairy producers, which offers protection to farmers as prices in milk and feed fluctuate. The legislation also removes a $20 million cap on the Federal Crop Insurance program, which protects against natural disasters or the loss of revenue due to a decline in price, giving livestock and dairy farmers more options.
Collins added: “I am pleased that we were able to work across the aisle to keep the government open while making sure the brave men and women in uniform can succeed on the battlefield, and have the resources they need when they return home.
WASHINGTON, DC – Following a string of recent scams in Livingston County, Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) advised area businesses and constituents to take actions to protect themselves. Credit card skimming occurs when a criminal places a device inside a fueling dispenser to illegally obtain credit or debit card information.
“It is an unfortunate reality that consumers may be at risk when filling up their tanks because of these sneaky and illegal schemes,” said Collins. “I thank Livingston County Sheriff Thomas Dougherty and all local law enforcement for working to protect our communities, and applaud businesses and individuals that are proactive in addressing the issue. I would encourage all businesses and individuals to take necessary precautions to reduce the occurrence of this unlawful activity.”
“I am pleased to see Congressman Collins work with the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) to take proactive measures in securing personal information and preventing identity theft," said Livingston County Sheriff Dougherty. "My hope is that gas station owners will take NACS up on this free training in securing their gas pumps and to enlist best practices to further protect our residents from falling victim to identity theft from simply pumping gas in their vehicle."
To reduce the likelihood of skimming, a number of resources have been developed and shared among the retail community and with law enforcement at the federal, state and local level.
Convenience stores sell an estimated 80% of the fuel purchased in the country and NACS has developed resources to share among the retail community and with law enforcement at the federal, state and local level—including serialized access stickers that are placed over dispenser doors to help make it more difficult to install skimmers without being detected. It also has shared recommendations with retailers to help them reduce the likelihood their store is a target of a skimming incident.
“Approximately 40 million customers fill up every day, and retailers are actively stepping up to ensure that these transactions are secure. We also recommend that customers be alert for tell-tale signs that a dispenser has been compromised, whether noticing visible signs that a dispenser door has been forcibly opened or a feeling if a loosely fitting keypad that has been installed over an existing one. And if you see something that doesn’t look right, tell someone inside the store,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard.
Skimming may also occur at restaurants, bars, or ATMs, amounting to approximately 2.5 million locations across the country that could be compromised. Individuals are advised to use ATMs inside a store or bank where the device is controlled and monitored and to use a PIN on debit cards whenever possible instead of signature-based transactions.
Collins advised retailers and constituents to contract his office for assistance. NACS has offered to provide guidance to any local gas retailers on how to protect customers from scams. It is also recommended that victims contact both local law enforcement and Federal Trade Commission so they can better track these instances of fraud.
Collins added: “In light of recent news, it is my hope that businesses will continue to do what they can to protect consumers and individuals will be quick to report any suspicious activity. As a community, we can and should work together to mitigate any risks of credit card skimming.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today denounced actions by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to bring a lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s decision to either rescind or revise the Waters of The United States (WOTUS) rule imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Obama.
In 2015, the Obama Administration finalized their WOTUS rule giving the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) expanded jurisdiction over bodies of water including farm ponds, storm drains, and wetlands. The Obama rule, if implemented, would have increased permitting costs, lead to unnecessary litigation, and pile on red-tape for anything from a construction site to a farm. Adoption of the flawed WOTUS rule will have disastrous effects on agriculture, small business, and municipalities across the country.
Realizing how devastating the Obama edict would be to local farmers and communities, President Trump signed an executive order in February 2017 to roll back the WOTUS rule. The Trump executive order instructed the EPA and USACE to begin the process of withdrawing the Obama rule with the EPA filing paperwork to suspend the rule for two years while they work to replace it.
“Yet again we are seeing Attorney General Eric Schneiderman catering to the liberal left and disregarding anything that is good for Western New York,” said Collins. “He continues to meddle with federal policy by supporting an Obama rule that would create confusion, increase costs, and place huge burdens on our nation’s farms, state governments, manufacturers, and just about any type of business resulting in detrimental economic impacts.”
Collins has been a vocal advocate for withdrawing and rewriting the Obama WOTUS rule since he was elected to Congress, something that has received strong bipartisan support in the House of Representatives. Implementing Obama's rule would contradict two Supreme Court decisions, as well as many state and tribal water laws.
Collins added: “It is ironic that as we are heading into an election year, we are seeing more and more frivolous lawsuits from the Cuomo Administration and his left wing allies. It is sad that instead of figuring out how to cut New York’s bloated budget and protect New York property owners and businesses, Cuomo and Schneiderman continue their never-ending effort to score political points at the cost of our State’s economy and the taxpayers who pay the bills.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) and 17 colleagues sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army (Civil Works) R.D. James requesting sufficient funding for the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study (GLCRS) in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed this study to coordinate a strategy across the Great Lakes states to efficiently and effectively manage and protect the Great Lakes coastline.
The Great Lakes coastline drives a yearly $14 billion tourism and recreation economy. High water levels, recent storms, and severe weather occurrences have had devastating impacts on shorelines erosion and coastal communities. The GLCRS would allow communities to become better equipped with information on how they can protect their shorelines during storms.
“This study would be the first of its kind, making it immensely helpful to shoreline businesses and homeowners who can so quickly experience devastating financial losses during severe weather,” said Collins. “After a year of unprecedented floods along Lake Ontario, the shoreline economy was hit hard and individuals are struggling to pay for damage to their property. As we work to replace the commissioners on the International Joint Commission (IJC) that implemented the failed Plan 2014 responsible for getting us into this mess, we are doing everything we can to prevent future devastation.”
“As a businessman, I take requests for funding very seriously, which is why I felt it was necessary to make sure our 2019 budget includes funding to help Great Lakes states better coordinate their strategies for protecting their coastlines. Representing Northeast Ohio, I know that maintaining a thriving and healthy Lake Erie is important for the region. It supports over 100,000 tourism-related jobs and generates more than $750 million in state and local taxes. I look forward to the funding and implementation of this study, as well as its results,” said Congressman Renacci (OH-16).
“The Great Lakes are home to 20 percent of all surface fresh water on the planet. More than 26 million people rely on them for commerce, transportation, drinking water, and recreation. Good stewardship of this precious resource in not a Democrat or Republican issue – we all have an interest in investing in a vibrant future for communities along the Great Lakes. That’s why I’m joining with my colleagues to push the administration to include funding for this important study in its budget request for the upcoming fiscal year,” said Congresswoman Slaughter (NY-25).
“The relationship between the Lakes and regions along the water’s edge are symbiotic, with the health and activity in the water having a direct impact on the economic and environmental health of waterfront regions. This study will be an important tool to allow for better planning for Great Lakes communities,” said Congressman Higgins (NY-26).
“The Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study needs to be funded in order to protect the Great Lakes and our beautiful coastlines. Taking care of the Great Lakes not only protects our natural resources, but also supports millions of jobs. Our region’s economy relies on vibrant and healthy lakes that can be hurt by extreme weather conditions caused by climate change,” said Congressman Kildee (MI-05). “I am glad there is a bipartisan effort to fund this study and I urge the President to include it in his budget priorities.”
“The Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study would be another important tool in our toolbox as we work to protect our Great Lakes and coastal communities. I’m hopeful that this strong showing of bipartisan support will push the administration in a positive direction. Whether it’s coastal erosion, high water levels, storms, or other occurrences, it’s critical that we fund this program for both economic and environmental reasons. I will continue to work on a bipartisan basis in order to implement policies that protect and preserve our Great Lakes,” said Congressman Upton (MI-06).
The President’s FY19 budget request is expected to be released in February. To read a copy of the letter, click here.
1117 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Chris Collins represents New York’s 27th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. The 27th District of New York includes 105 towns spread out over eight counties in Western New York and the Finger Lakes. The residents of NY-27 elected Mr. Collins to Congress in November of 2012.
Congressman Collins serves as a member of the House Small Business, Agriculture and Science, Space and Technology committees. He is also the Chair of the Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology, which is charged with examining how the cost of healthcare is impacting American small businesses.
Congressman Collins comes to Capitol Hill with both private and public sector experience. Before being elected to Congress, Chris served as Erie County Executive and built a career as a business owner and entrepreneur, creating and saving hundreds of American jobs in Western New York.
A mechanical engineer, the Congressman began his professional career with Westinghouse Electric in 1972. Chris lives in Clarence, NY with his wife Mary. He has three children and three grandchildren and remains active with the Greater Niagara Frontier Council Boy Scouts of America.
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