After years of study, and urging from The Wilderness Society, the U.S. Department of Interior had decided that it would not be in the public’s interest to build a road through the wilderness of Alaska’s Izembek, situated on the Alaska Peninsula in southwest Alaska.
Now we have learned that pro-road members of Congress are not willing to take Interior’s “no” for an answer.
Pro-road legislators have asked the Secretary of the Interior to overrule the department’s decision, and to allow the road to be constructed through some of the richest and most important habitat in the world for migratory waterfowl, caribou and brown bears.
Issues with a road through Izembek:
- The road would run straight through the biological heart of the narrow isthmus that creates the refuge, damaging important habitat with traffic and noise.
- A road through Izembek sets a dangerous precedent for all other wilderness areas, which are protected from road building and development.
- Izembek is a globally important bird area. Virtually all Pacific black brant and emperor geese rely on this area to rest and feed during their spring and fall migrations.
- The road would cost millions of dollars to build and maintain.
Residents of King Cove, Alaska, have requested the road for access to an airport in in the nearby community of Cold Bay, but taxpayer dollars have already funded a state-of-the-art hovercraft that can make the trip in 20 minutes in most weather conditions - driving across a road would take more than 90 minutes, when weather left it passable.
The road would also cost millions of dollars to build and maintain.
A road through Izembek’s wilderness would create problems, not solve them. And it would harm important wilderness habitat.
Please join us in urging Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to stand firm on the department’s position that sacrificing wilderness for a boondoggle project is a bad idea.