The community of King Cove claims a road through Izembek wilderness must be built to assure safe transport to Cold Bay. In truth, American taxpayers already provided a safe and reliable transportation system for King Cove in 1998 when Congress appropriated $37.5 million to improve the community’s medical facilities, build a road connecting King Cove to a new marine terminal, and purchase a state-of-the-art hovercraft.
Since it began operating in 2007, this hovercraft has made more than 30 successful medical evacuations in as little as 20 minutes in all kinds of weather. Traveling the proposed one-lane gravel road in the best weather would take one to two hours and during winter storms could be impassable. The road would not create safer or more efficient transport.
America’s national wildlife refuges belong to everyone and provide countless benefits to current and future generations. Allowing a road through the heart of Izembek wilderness would threaten this heritage and set a dangerous precedent for all of the nation’s protected wilderness lands. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has the option to stop this wasteful project, and he should do so.