Begich Pleased with Progress on Izembek Road and Land Trade
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich praised the progress made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS) today in releasing a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the proposed land trade facilitating construction of a road connecting the community of King Cove to the state’s third largest runway in Cold Bay, approximately 25 miles away.
Today’s decision allows planning for the road to move forward. At the conclusion of the EIS process, expected this fall, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar must make a public interest determination and decide whether the proposed land trade will move forward.
“I voted for this land exchange in 2009, and it’s good to see that we’re making progress on a decades-long struggle,” said Begich. “As I’ve told Secretary Salazar, it’s time to finish this, build the road, and let the community get on with their lives.”
Authorized by the Omnibus Public Lands Act of 2009, the DEIS analyzes the effects of swapping approximately 56,000 acres of State of Alaska and King Cove Corporation lands for a 206 acre road corridor.
“The King Cove Corporation is giving up 20 percent of its land for a simple gravel road. That shows how much of a priority emergency access to the airport in Cold Bay is. As this process moves forward, I’ll continue to advocate for the residents of King Cove and the rights of rural communities across our state,” Begich added.