U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., said legislators have received a letter from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta explaining the order to hold off on a decision on the 911th Airlift Wing in Moon Township for at least one more year.
"This is good news. Now we can take a closer look and do a full analysis to make sure all the right information is used in making a decision," said Murphy, the Pittsburgh-area lawmaker who has been among those fighting the announced closure.
In February, the Air Force announced plans to close the base by September 2013, estimating the move could save $354 million over five years. The Air Force has argued that seven C-130 refueling planes based there are among the oldest in the fleet.
But Murphy and others who oppose closing the base have argued against it because of the closure's possible economic impact—and they've also said the closure violates government rules.
Among other things, Murphy said congressional approval is needed to close the base because more than 300 civilians work there, though the Air Force has argued that it employs only 283 civilians. Murphy said the base is home to more than 1,300 reservists, and congressional approval is required for the closure of facilities with 1,000 or more reservists.
Supporters of the 911th said a total of 2,500 people work or are based there, and said the base pumps about $114 million annually into the Pittsburgh region's economy.
Defense department officials could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.
Brian Schill, a spokesman for the Military Affairs Coalition of Western Pennsylvania, said the one-year extension was "exactly what we were asking for."
"We're asking the Air Force and Congress to do their due diligence," Schill said.