By Steve Mac Donald
Channel 2 News
4:26 PM AKDT, June 6, 2012
Alaska's U.S. senators are taking yet another approach in their efforts to ground an Air Force plan to move an F-16 fighter squadronfrom Fairbanks to Anchorage.
Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski have written a letter (PDF) requesting that no money be allocated to pay for the move.
The Air Force wants to move the 18th Aggressor Squadron, currently based at Eielson Air Force Base, to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. A report released by the Air Force last week claims the move, along with subsequent reductions in base operating support services at Eielson, will save some $227 million over the next five years.
Alaska's congressional delegation and political and civic leaders in Fairbanks dispute the amount of savings and argue that moving the jets, along with more than 500 airmen and their families, will damage the Fairbanks economy.
Begich and Murkowski's letter, which is addressed to Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the chair and co-chair of the Subcommittee on Defense in the Senate Appropriations Committee, asks that the Air Force be prohibited from spending money on relocating the jets.
“We strongly urge you to consider explicitly prohibiting funds for this unjustified, costly and ill-conceived proposal,” the senators wrote.
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