Casey defends Pittsburgh-area air base to panel

PITTSBURGH (AP) – U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has sent a letter detailing reasons not to close a Pittsburgh-area Air Force base.

The Democrat teamed with other western Pennsylvania lawmakers to overturn plans to close the 911th Airlift Wing in Moon Township last September.

Casey released a letter Thursday to the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force, in hopes the panel won’t again recommend closing the base when it issues a report to President Barack Obama next week.

Casey says the base, which has 2,000 employees, has saved $84 million by cutting the time it takes to inspect the C-130 refueling planes at the base.

Casey says the base also saves money by sharing four runways, fire protection and other services at Pittsburgh International Airport, arguing it would cost $400 million to do those same things at another location.

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