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Alaska to sue over road through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

By Hope Miller 11:56 PM April 7, 2014

The State of Alaska has filed notice of intent to sue the federal government over access through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Gov. Sean Parnell’s office announced Monday.

Last year, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell rejected a proposed land swap with Alaska to build a one-lane gravel road from King Cove to Cold Bay, citing concerns that the road would disrupt habitat in the wildlife refuge.

Parnell, who says he’s in favor of a road, said it’s “unconscionable” that the Department of Interior has denied approval of the road, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

The proposed road would link King Cove, a southwest community of fewer than 1,000, to an all-weather airport in Cold Bay. King Cove residents, along with Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski, say the road is necessary.

Without the road, King Cove residents in need of medical assistance not available in their community rely on U.S. Coast Guard for medical evacuations in severe weather when other aircraft can’t land at King Cove’s airport. So far this year, there have been five Coast Guard medevacs.

Click here to see a copy of the notice.


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