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State Joins Appeal for Life Saving Road to King Cove


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November 5, 2015 (Juneau, AK) – The State of Alaska joined the City of King Cove and other King Cove area residents in appealing the federal district court’s decision preventing the land exchange necessary to build a road from King Cove to the Cold Bay Airport.   The King Cove Plaintiffs and the State have filed a Joint Notice of Appeal seeking a reversal of this decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.      

            Over the years, many residents of King Cove have lost their lives awaiting medical evacuation during the frequent severe winds and weather that make sea and air transport out of King Cove impossible.   However, in nearby Cold Bay one of the longest runways in Alaska provides both scheduled airline service and emergency landing services for the largest commercial and military aircraft as they cross the Pacific.   If patients from King Cove can get to Cold Bay, then they can reach Anchorage medical services by air. 

            The State has long supported the King Cove residents in their attempts to build a gravel road through the Izembek Wildlife Refuge to provide reliable land transport to the airport.   The United States Congress and the Alaska legislature each passed legislation agreeing to a land exchange to accommodate the road.  However, Secretary Jewell of the Department of the Interior has blocked this exchange.  It is her opinion that the potential detrimental effects of the road on wildlife outweigh the impacts on the lives of King Cove residents.

            This disregard of human life by the federal government is disturbing.    The appeal of this case is but one of several efforts in which the King Cove residents and the State are engaged to make this life-saving road a reality.   With great resolve the State will continue to support the residents of King Cove in this battle.    

            For more information, contact Senior Assistant Attorney General Tom Lenhart at 465-3600 or tom.lenhart@alaska.gov.

 

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