Think About It………. July 16, 2014
Well the Feds are at it again, but this time local Alaskans and soon the State of Alaska is standing up to be counted. It’s all about a much needed road between the village of King Cove and Cold Bay on the Alaska Peninsula.
Basically, the people of King Cove and the state feel that the road is mandatory. They say it’s all about protecting the lives of human beings. To make it happen, the State of Alaska offered a land trade with U.S. Department of the Interior. The trade would give the Feds far more acreage….97.5 square miles of state land for less than 3 square miles of the Refuge.
Interior rejects the idea of the new 11 miles of gravel road which would complete the 30 mile length to Cold Bay. It would run along the edge of Izembek Lagoon. Secretary Sally Jewell feels that the road might threaten the world’s largest known bed of eelgrass. The Izembek National Wildlife Refuge is a recognized habitat for migratory birds such as Pacific Brant and Steller’s eiders as they head south for the winter.
King Cove, home to 938 Alaskans, and the State, are demanding the access for the road so that residents would have over-land access to the large airport at Cold Bay. Right now medical emergencies must taken by air and weather is often not conducive to flights. In announcing the court suit, Della Trumble, a representative of the village said “This is all about protecting the lives of human beings.” The lawsuit claims Interiors rejection of a land swap so the road can be built is a violation of federal law and arbitrary because no other reasonable transportation alternative exist.
King Cove Mayor, Henry Mack said that eleven people have been medically evacuated so far this year. “We’ve been fortunate that we haven’t lost any lives this year during these challenging medivacs.”
The lawsuit said that one man, this year, has been medically evacuated to Cold Bay four times after heart attacks. After one episode, when planes could’nt fly, he was carried on a crab boat and hoisted to the dock in a crab pot because he could not climb the 25 foot ladder topside.
King Cove residents contend the department is trading human lives for eel grass and birds.
One can only hope the lawsuit is won by the village and the state and that Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is forced to make the land trade and allow the road. Certainly a little traveled road around the edge of the Izembek Lagoon will harm an insignificant amount of eel grass, and make timely medical evacuations possible regardless of weather.
Think About It! 7-16-14