Quantcast

DOI to Allow Road Construction Inside National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska

Animals
Red fox at Kinzarof Lagoon, Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Kristine Sowl, USFWS / Flickr

The Interior Department has reached a deal with a remote Alaskan village to construct a controversial road through a national wildlife refuge.

Local officials from King Cove in the Aleutian Islands said last week that the Interior Department has approved a land swap that would allow the village to build a 12-mile gravel road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge that will connect the village to the nearby town of Cold Bay.


The proposed road, which would cut through key habitat for grizzly bear, caribou and other species, has been a political flash point for decades. Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke's move to allow the road will overturn a 2013 decision by then-Interior Sec. Sally Jewell to block the road's construction.

As reported by the Washington Post:

"Randi Spivak, who directs the public lands program for the Center for Biological Diversity, said in an email that the advocacy group was prepared to challenge the agreement in federal court if it is finalized. The proposed project, she argued, would probably run afoul of the Wilderness Act, the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

'Bulldozing a road through the heart of the refuge violates federal laws designed to protect Alaska's pristine wild places,' Spivak said. 'Zinke's backroom deal is an end run around Congress and will destroy world-class wetlands critical to millions of migrating birds, bears and other wildlife. Once it's destroyed, we'll never get it back.'"

In a press release, Defenders of Wildlife President Jamie Rappaport Clark said, "We will not stand by while some of the world's most vital wildlife habitat is ripped from public ownership to satisfy commercial interests. We will challenge this illegal scam in federal court."

For a deeper dive:

Washington Post, New York Times, KTOO, KUCB, KTUU

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Catherine Flessen / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Non-perishable foods, such as canned goods and dried fruit, have a long shelf life and don't require refrigeration to keep them from spoiling. Instead, they can be stored at room temperature, such as in a pantry or cabinet.

Read More
Tero Vesalainen / iStock / Getty Images

By Julia Ries

  • Two flu strains are overlapping each other this flu season.
  • This means you can get sick twice from different flu strains.
  • While the flu vaccine isn't a perfect match, it's the best defense against the flu.

To say this flu season has been abnormal is an understatement.

Read More
Sponsored
Pexels

By Andrew Joseph Pegoda

At least 40 percent to 90 percent of American voters stay home during elections, evidence that low voter turnout for both national and local elections is a serious problem throughout the U.S.

Read More
Arx0nt / Moment / Getty Images

By Alina Petre, MS, RD

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for optimal health.

Read More
Plastic waste that started as packaging clogs tropical landfills. apomares / iStock / Getty Images

By Clyde Eiríkur Hull and Eric Williams

Countries around the world throw away millions of tons of plastic trash every year. Finding ways to manage plastic waste is daunting even for wealthy nations, but for smaller and less-developed countries it can be overwhelming.

Read More