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USF&W Publishes Notice of Intent for EIS


For Immediate Release
August 6, 2009

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it has published
a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
for a proposed three-party land exchange that would allow a road to be
constructed between the communities of King Cove and Cold Bay. The
exchange would add 56,393 acres to the Izembek and Alaska Peninsula
National Wildlife Refuges, designate 43,000 acres as wilderness,
transfer 1,600 acres of refuge lands on Sitkinak Island to the State,
and create a 206-acre, 9-mile corridor through Izembek Refuge upon which
the road would be constructed.

The proposed road between King Cove and Cold Bay has been discussed for
more than a decade. The 1997 King Cove Health and Safety Act provided
$37.5 million for a marine link between the communities, improvements to
the King Cove airstrip, and a medical clinic in King Cove. A $9 million
hovercraft has been operating between the communities since 2006,
providing that marine link.

In recent developments, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009,
signed into law on March 30, 2009, directed the Secretary of the
Interior to develop an EIS to evaluate the land exchange referred to
above. If the EIS leads to a decision to support the land exchange, a
finding of “public interest” by the Secretary would also be required
before the exchange could be completed.

Although the Notice of Intent will be published, progress on the
environmental impact statement itself will be delayed until funds are
secured for the project, which is estimated to cost approximately $2
million.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others
to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their
habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both
a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known
for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural
resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.
For more information on our work and the people who make it happen,
visit www.fws.gov.

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