Podcast: County legislator Burke on water quality

In this week’s episode of Investigative Postcast, Dan Telvock talks water quality with Erie County Legislator Pat Burke.


Burke says the region has a history of bad environmental decisions.

“Before we can even fix the obvious problems that exist now, we just have to stop doing dumb things,” said Burke, who introduced legislation that recently banned in Erie County the sale of products containing microbeads.

Pat Burke

Pat Burke

“A lot of people would debate how influential the legislature can be in general, and I think me and some others have proven that it can be, and it can make a difference,” he said.

Burke also discussed his run-ins with the local hotel and tourism industry after he proposed increasing the hotel occupancy tax to pay for water quality improvements.

“Politically right now, it wasn’t feasible,” he said.

They also discussed Telvock’s reporting on the inadequacies of Erie County’s lead testing efforts, which rarely sample tap water.

Asked whether the county health department should mandate water testing, Burke said “it seems pretty obvious” but added that, generally, “there are many things that aren’t done the right way just because of resources.”

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