ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Monday rejected a proposed land swap with the state of Alaska to build a road through a remote Alaska national wildlife refuge that shelters millions of migratory waterfowl.
The community of King Cove, backed by Gov. Sean Parnell and the Alaska congressional delegation, pushed Jewell to approve a land exchange that would allow construction of a one-lane gravel road through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Alaska.
King Cove wants a road to provide emergency medical patients access to an all-weather airport at nearby Cold Bay. They say lives are endangered when aircraft cannot reach their own airport, where strong winds and foul weather make flying dangerous.
Jewell said the decision doesn't prevent local officials from making transportation improvements outside the refuge.