King Cove Residents Take Road Debate to Washington, D.C.
Monday, March 24 2014
Ever since the Interior Department turned down a request to build a road through a federal wildlife refuge in December, the village of King Cove has been lobbying hard to keep the proposal alive.
Now, a group of King Cove residents and tribal officials have brought their fight to Washington. They’ve traveled to the nation’s capital so they can attend a Senate appropriations meeting on Wednesday.
The Interior Department budget is going to be up for discussion. Senator Lisa Murkowski says she’ll take that opportunity to grill Interior Secretary Sally Jewell about the proposed road.
Jewell was the one who rejected a request from King Cove to trade a strip of land in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge for a parcel of state and tribal-owned land.
Without the trade, King Cove can’t build a one-lane gravel road to connect to the Cold Bay airstrip. Residents argue that a road is the best way to access to medevac services in Cold Bay.
But opponents say it would endanger wildlife -- and some have questioned whether the road is really intended for commercial use. Peter Pan Seafoods has a plant in King Cove, but the company recently pledged to use the road only for medevacking employees.
Murkowski’s planning a press conference with the King Cove group after the Senate hearing on Wednesday morning.