No Deadline for King Cove Road Decision

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says she will weigh all the
facts carefully, in the aftermath of her visit to Izembek National Wildlife
Refuge, before making a decision on allowing a road through the refuge to
connect an Alaska fishing village with an all weather airport at Cold Bay.
Jewell said at a news conference in Anchorage on Sept. 3 that there have been
efforts to talk about a trade-off between human safety and wildlife and the
reality is we want both.”

She gave no promises of when her decision would come,
saying only “when I’m ready to make a decision, I’ll make one.” Residents of
King Cove, an Alaska Peninsula fishing community that is home to a 100-year-old
Peter Pan seafood processing plant, have lobbied for years for a road between
their community and the all-weather airport at Cold Bay, which gives them
access in medical emergencies to save lives. The single lane road would wind
through a portion of Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, a plan that many
environmentalist groups strongly oppose. Alaska’s congressional delegation and
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell support the road plan, which would require the federal
government to trade 206 acres of refuge and another 1,600 acres from another
refuge, in return for which the government would receive 43,093 acres of state
land and another 13,300 acres owned by the King Cove Corp., the Alaska Native
village corporation serving that community.

Jewell also spoke at length during the news conference about
climate change and offshore oil and gas exploration issues and the more than
400 new topographic maps released by the US Geological Survey, which are now
available for Alaska. The digital maps, which can be downloaded off a
government Internet site,,

Maps that Jewell said will help people understand climate
change and see changes in water, erosion and vulnerable cultural sites.