160516 Air Base 2

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles E. Schumer, joined by John Cooper, chairman of the Niagara Military Affairs Council, announced a major push to expand and update Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station in preparation for incoming KC-135s refueling planes.

Niagara County will pay $60,000 to retain a Buffalo lobbying firm for one year to push for the continued operation of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

The Legislature voted unanimously on June 20 to retain Masiello Martucci Calabrese & Associates, which for several years has lobbied on the county's behalf to keep the air base open.

Carl Calabrese said previously that the U.S. Department of Defense has spent two years lobbying Congress to authorize another Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The BRAC, which aims to cut defense spending by closing obsolete military installations, could threaten the future of NFARS, which employs about 3,000 people.

The county legislature previously considered retaining the firm at its Feb. 21 business meeting, but tabled the resolution and did not take it up for a vote until last week.

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