King Cove sits 11 miles southeast of Cold Bay in Alaska, a distance that often takes a lifetime, under current conditions, to travel. That’s because there is no road between the two towns, only an over-water boat path, and a small airport in King Cove that’s weather-closed a third of the year. Cold Bay has an all-weather airport, though.
The residents of King Cove want—need—a road connecting the two towns, and they’ve been fighting the Federal government for one for 30 years. The Feds get the veto authority because the land route for the gravel road (all that the locals are asking) runs through Federal land.
Whence the need?
Cove residents say a road is necessary so they can reach an all-weather airport in Cold Bay that will transport them to Anchorage, about 625 miles away, for medical treatment. They say that in emergency situations, it’s a matter of life and death.
According to local Aleutian elders, 19 people have died since 1980 as a result of the impossible-to-navigate weather conditions during emergency evacuations.
That’s the lifetime it takes to get from King Cove to Cold Bay under current conditions.
Never mind that; the Federal government has its own priorities.
[T]he Department of Interior announced it was rejecting plans for a proposed land swap that would allow the road to be built. The Dec 23 decision cited the negative environmental impact on grizzly bears, caribou, and water fowl like the Pacific black brant.
“(Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s) decision on King Cove was heartless and wrong, and her message to me ever since has been that I need to ‘just get over it and move on,'” Senator Lisa Murkowski(R, AK)….
During an August visit to Alaska, Jewell was told that building a road that connects King Cove and Cold Bay was vital. But in December, Jewell rejected the road saying it would jeopardize waterfowl in the refuge.
“She stood up in the gymnasium and told those kids, ‘I’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals,'” State Representative Bob Herron (D)….
That land swap? Alaska had offered over 43,000 acres for the 1,800, or so, needed for the short road.
But animal welfare is more important to these Feds than human lives.