King Cove Road Land Exchange Act

H.R. 218 and S. 101 - King Cove Road Land Exchange Act - This act, proposed by Rep Don Young and Senator Lisa Murkowski, seeks to transfer federally managed land in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge to the state for the construction of the King Cove-Izembek Road, which would harm the Izembek Lagoon's most sensitive habitat, one of the largest eelgrass beds in the world. The proposed road is incompatible with the purpose for the establishment of this Refuge by Congress in the 1980 Alaska Lands Act -- "to conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats ... including waterfowl, shorebirds and other migratory birds, brown bears and salmonoids."  

This is not the first time that this 'Road to Nowhere' has been proposed. According to Bruce Babbitt, U.S. Secretary of the Interior during the Clinton administration, the road's initial purpose was for easier access for the Japanese owned cannery, Peter Pan Seafoods. Today, proponents of the road have changed their tune, claiming that it would instead give the around 900 residents of King Cove easier access to an all-weather airport for medical evacuations. While medical transportation is a critical issue in Alaska, many worry that proponents of the road are taking advantage of this issue to profit from easier access for companies.

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