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.