Gov. Rick Perry says a proposal to shift eight Air Force planes used for disaster relief from Texas to Montana ranks as "one of the worst decisions" the federal government has made.
Perry spoke Wednesday at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, where the C-130 planes are stationed.
The cargo planes provide personnel and supplies during disasters.
"Texas has been hit with more major disasters over the last 60 years than any other state, and the C-130 aircraft has been an instrumental part of our emergency response, airlifting evacuees from coastal hospitals and bringing supplies and life-saving equipment to the Gulf Coast," said Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. "I believe keeping these eight C-130s in Texas is a cost-effective way for the U.S. Air Force to maintain mission readiness, and their failure to justify the transfer of these critically important aircraft is unacceptable."
The Air Force wants to move the planes to Montana as part of proposed budget cuts.
A former C-130 pilot himself, Perry said moving the planes would increase deployment time from hours to days.
U.S. Rep. Kay Granger said Texas congressional members will work to keep money for the transfer out of the budget. She is chairwoman of a House appropriations subcommittee that oversees defense funding.
Rep. Granger said she’s been meeting with the Secretary of the Air Force hoping to change his mind. She said Congress does not support the plan and will continue to hold hearings about it.
Granger said the last resort is legislative action.
"I don't think they saw the disaster coming, if they move them. That will leave the entire gulf coast all the gulf states without any C-130’s. They’re under the control of the National Guard, so it takes a call from the governor, and in two hours, you’ve got planes in the air. You move them to Montana and it takes 2 ½ days to get them up in the air. It’s a huge change. There are no C-130s to replace those. It will leave the gulf states with entirely no coverage at all. Don’t do this. It’s a very bad plan."
NBC 5's Kendra Lyn contributed to this report.