Senator Schumer highlights importance of local research planes that could lose funding

Scotia, N.Y. – Senator Chuck Schumer visited the Stratton
Air National Guard base Friday for the first time to highlight the importance
of scientific research planes that are housed there.  But funding for those planes and missions
could be in trouble. 

Located at Stratton Air National Guard
base is four LC-130's.  They are four of
only 10 heavy airlift planes with snow skies in the world.  They're used for research by the National
Science Foundation.  “To fly
research expeditions to Antarctica, Greenland, the Arctic Circle,” said
Senator Chuck Schumer.

But with the growing national debt, the government is
looking to cut costs and the research programs run out of Stratton could be on the
chopping block. 

“With global warming and all the research and everything
else that needs to be done on the ice caps, what a dumb time it would be to
stop this,” said Schumer.

At risk, the program run by the 109th Air Wing
based at Stratton.

The NSF spends 30-millon dollars a year to operate four
planes at the base.  The facility employs
12-hundred people and generates 20-million dollars in secondary income for
outside companies.

“It's a local economic resource and a national
scientific jewel that can't be replaced,” said Schumer who toured

That's why Schumer says it can't be cut.  “Basic scientific research always pays back
many folds over in terms of job creation,” said Schumer.  

And with what Schumer
described as looming environmental challenges, these unique outfits could soon
be vital.

“The importance of the research that's done here, is
more important than ever,” said Schumer.  “It might down the road lead to
the safety of our planet.”

The cargo compartments in the
back of one of these planes are massive.  They're used to transport everything from
food, to scientific equipment, to medical supplies, to even people as
well.  Without these planes the scientific research likely wouldn't be
able to happen.

Senator Schumer says it's unknown
when the funding could be cut if ever, but that's why he's pledged to continue
to fight for it in Washington.


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