The Secretary of Interior will take a second look at a land swap for a road to the Alaska Peninsula village of King Cove.
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski announced that she has an agreement with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that he will review the Environmental Impact Statement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. The agency has recommended against the road, based on concern for bird habitat in the Izembek National Wildlife refuge.
Murkowski said that Salazar will determine if the EIS is adequately considered in the “public interest”
Sen. Murkowski(R-AK): “He’s further directed that the Secretary of Interior, whether it be Ken Salazar or whether it be Sally Jewell, go to King Cove to visit with the people to allow for a process that further information and public process that will consist of testimony, of input, of really attempting to hear the public side. These are important for that process, and they will be factored into a final determination.”
Salazar met with King Cove residents in Washington D.C. last month.
Senator Murkowski also noted that issues like these aren’t specific to Alaska…
Sen. Murkowski(R-AK): “We all have our King Coves, we all have a situation where we’re working with or against our federal agencies and we don’t feel like we’re being heard, and sometimes the conversations need to go deeper, sometimes we need to press a little bit hard to ensure that the interests of our constituents are addressed. Whether it’s the Aleut people of King Cove, whether it’s the people who are out in the west who are worried about an interpretation of the protections for a Sage Grouse, whether it is my colleague from West Virginia who’s worried about an interpretation of what a stream is. These are significant for each of us.
King Cove has long sought a road to connect with the all-weather airport in Cold Bay, mainly for transport during medical emergencies.