Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

(Don’t) Come and Take It: Texas vs. Air Force over C-130s

Photo by Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

The National Guard's C-130s help deal with major emergencies in Texas and along the Gulf Coast.

They were part of the wildfire-fighting force that helped push back Texas’ worst year of fires in history, and now they may be leaving the state’s armada.

The U.S. Air Force wants to move eight C-130s from Fort Worth to Montana. But Texas feels differently.

As Era Sundar of StateImpact Texas lead station KUT reports, some state officials are criticizing the Air Force’s plans. They say it could hamper Texas’ ability to fight wildfires like the ones in Bastrop and West Texas last year.

But an Air Force spokesperson told KUT that the military has budget cuts to deal with and “has to distribute its diminishing airlift capabilities more evenly.” The Air Force says Montana has a shortage of the planes, but there would still be C-130s available to Texas from bases in Arkansas and Mississippi.

Sundar reports:

“The issue is far from resolved. Congress has to make a decision in light of the Department of Defense budget. And needs to hear the input of everyone from Gulf state governors to all 34 members of the Texas congressional delegation.

There is also pressure from Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. The Helena Independent Record reports that Montana’s F-15s are being moved to California and that Schweitzer will sue to prevent their removal without a suitable replacement.”

You can read the full story over at KUT.


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