A bit over a year ago, I wrote about King Cove, AK’s, attempt to get an 11-mile road built to Cold Bay so they could get folks quickly to Cold Bay’s all-weather airport and thence to a hospital. For 30 years, the Feds have been blocking King Cove’s road because the lives of animals are more important than those of the humans who live in King Cove. And die there, as 19 have, recall, over the last three decades because they couldn’t get to medical treatment in time.
Here’s the current status of that shameful situation.
A group of native tribes in Alaska is suing the Obama administration after being blocked for years from building an emergency road from their fishing hamlet to a vital airport over preservation concerns.
The suit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Alaska, claims the Interior Department’s refusal is a violation of federal law and argues no other reasonable transportation alternative exists.
They say they know taking the issue to court will likely make an already lengthy process even longer but say they have exhausted all other options.
And this from Robert Dillon, a spokesman for Senator Lisa Murkowski (R, AK):
Secretary [of the Interior Sally] Jewell has ignored the King Cove folks for six months—despite her very public promise to find a viable alternative to the land exchange.
You can imagine their frustration with Interior when they can’t even get Jewell to acknowledge them. Jewell may be hoping this issue just going away, but it won’t. The people of King Cove are fighting to keep their families safe—that’s not something you give up on.
Recall that the land swap Jewell refused involved 43,000 acres elsewhere in Alaska for the 1,800, or so, needed for King Cove’s short road.
But Jewell thinks the lives of bears, caribou, and birds are more valuable than the lives of a few hundred financially poor Aleut native Americans.