Niagara Falls Airbase Faces Cuts, Avoids Closure

February 4, 2012 Updated Feb 4, 2012 at 12:22 AM EDT

By Allen Leight

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February 4, 2012 Updated Feb 4, 2012 at 12:22 AM EDT

NIAGARA FALLS, NY (WKBW) - The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Base was not on the closure list but will face cuts under a new proposal released by the Air Force Friday.

In an effort to cut nearly $500 billion from the defense budget, the USAF released a reorganization plan that would see the Niagara Falls base lose at least three of its cargo planes.

Under the current proposal, which would take effect next year, the Niagara Falls base would lose three of its C-130 cargo planes, and the 107th Air Lift Wing would lose it's mission. The 914th Air Reserve Unit would remain.

In fiscal year 2017, the remaining eight C-130 H2 cargo planes would be replaced with the newer, updated C-130 H3.

Still, the changes could affect nearly 800 jobs at the base, 500 of which are part time.

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with Representatives Louise Slaughter, Brian Higgins and Kathy Hochul released the following statement Friday in response to the Pentagon proposal:

"The Niagara Air Base plays a central role in our national defense and emergency response, and must be protected. We will continue to make a strong case to the Secretary of Defense on behalf of the more than 3,000 men and women who work tirelessly to keep our country safe and strong."

The Niagara Military Affairs Council is holding a press conference Saturday at Noon at the Airport to discuss the future of the base.