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Land Exchange Has Governor Palin’s Support

June 17, 2009, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin has sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior expressing her support for the exchange of state-owned land for federal land within the Izembek and Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuges.

In the letter, Governor Palin urged Secretary Ken Salazar to initiate proceedings for an environmental impact statement, which is required under the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Land Exchange Act.

The exchange is necessary to facilitate construction of a road from King Cove to Cold Bay using approximately 206 acres of land in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. The road is deemed necessary by the residents of King Cove and by the Aleutians East Borough to provide a safe, secure means of transportation to the airport in Cold Bay.

In the letter, Governor Palin said,“The state statutes require that when an exchange of state land involves unequal or uncertain appraised land values, the Alaska State Legislature must grant final approval of the exchange. To that effect, shortly after President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Act into law, state legislation (House Bill 210) was introduced in the Alaska State Legislature to ratify the exchange. This bill was passed in the Alaska State House within a few days of introduction by a vote of 38-0. The state expects passage of the bill in the State Senate will occur as soon as practicable when the Alaska State Legislature resumes its current session. Passage in the State Senate during the first half of the current state legislative session was delayed only by the interim adjournment of the Alaska State Legislature under its term limit for adjournment. I am fully prepared to sign the legislation into law as soon as it is passed.”

A copy of the letter can be found at:  http://www.gov.state.ak.us/pdf/SectSalazar_IzembekLandAct_June16-2009.pdf.

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