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King blasts proposal to eliminate city Coast Guard safety team

The Coast Guard's Maritime Security and Safety Team for New York City would be eliminated in President Barack Obama's 2011 budget, drawing a protest Tuesday from Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford).

Coast Guard spokesman Dan LaBrec confirmed that New York was among the five teams being decommissioned, leaving seven to operate on a more regional basis.

King, ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, called the move "indefensible," and said the Coast Guard had invested more than $1 million in the New York team since 2003.

LaBrec said New York still would be secured against terrorists by other Coast Guard patrols: teams from Boston, Chesapeake, Va., and Miami would cover special national security events, he said.

The budget also eliminates teams in San Francisco, New Orleans, Anchorage, Alaska, and Kings Bay, Ga., LaBrec said.

Decommissioning the teams would eliminate five ships, nine aircraft and 1,112 military positions, he said. The projected dollar savings were not available.

Congress mandated the anti-terrorism teams in 2002, after the 9/11 attacks, in part to handle national security events such as a Super Bowl.

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