Bill supports operations at Buffalo sector
√ Congressman calls for investments at Outer Harbor site
Congressman Brian Higgins announced the House of Representatives approved legislation reauthorizing the U.S. Coast Guard through the end of 2023. The bill provides $12.8 billion for Coast Guard operation, maintenance, construction, research and staffing in 2022, and $13.9 billion for 2023.
“We are grateful to have the Coast Guard in Buffalo’s backyard to provide professional rapid response in emergency situations and to encourage and maintain safety on Western New York’s increasingly busy waterways,” Higgins said.
The bill supports the 44,500 active-duty personnel and encourages outreach to expand minority and women representation among its ranks. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo is home to approximately 355 active-duty personnel and hundreds more reservists, civil servants, and auxiliary staff.
Sector Buffalo provides search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, marine safety and security, aids-to-navigation, recreational boating safety, marine environmental response, and ice operations services to the public. The sector responds to approximately 1,000 search and rescue cases each year. Its area of responsibility covers three states, 455 miles of international border, and 570 miles of shoreline, including Lake Erie from Lorain, Ohio to Buffalo, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, the Erie Canal, and the St. Lawrence Seaway to Massena.
In 2011, work was completed on a $6.1 million project championed by Higgins in conjunction with Coast Guard leadership, which reconfigured the Coast Guard property on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor to allow for public access to the historic Buffalo Lighthouse. Built in 1833, the lighthouse is one of the oldest on the Great Lakes. Public access to the lighthouse was limited due to post 9/11 security measures on the Coast Guard property.
The congressman said he would like to see the Coast Guard prioritize the next phases of that project with funding included in this bill to provide further improvements to the Sector Buffalo property, and additional enhancements to the waterfront space open to the public. Higgins sent a letter to the Coast Guard commander making the request.