Legislature Approves King Cove to Cold Bay Road in Izembek Land Swap
Edgmon’s HB 210 marks a milestone in the
southwest community’s 30-year struggle
Thursday April 15th, 2010, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska State House last night concurred in Senate changes to House Bill 210, legislation authorizing a land exchange with the federal government in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. The Alaska State Senate unanimously passed the bill Monday. The Alaska State House passed the bill unanimously last April. Representative Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, sponsored the bill. HB 210 would permit the state to transfer 43,000 acres in Western Alaska to the federal government in exchange for a 206-acre road corridor through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. The transaction, authorized by U.S. Congress last year in the Omnibus Public Lands Act of 2009, is a considerable step toward establishing access to the Cold Bay airport from King Cove. “There are still some hurdles to get over — a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Environmental Impact Study, a positive finding by Dept. of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar,” Edgmon said, “but this is a major milestone after decades of efforts by King Cove. I’m proud to have played a part in making it happen. The bill’s success sends a clear message back to Congress that Alaska solidly supports ensuring the safety and well-being of King Cove residents.” The exchange also includes the state’s receipt of 1,600 acres of federal land located on Sitkinak Island, south of Kodiak, and it provides for the designation of the 4,000-acre Kinzarof Lagoon — a prime migrating bird habitat — as part of the Izembek State Game Refuge. Edgmon noted King Cove’s remarkable perseverance over many years. “I want to remind people of the sacrifice that King Cove itself has made to reach this juncture,” he said. “The King Cove Corporation has given up more than 18,000 acres of its own ANCSA lands as part of this exchange. I just can’t imagine stronger evidence of how important the road is to this community.” HB 210 now heads to the governor for signature.