You may recall this story from a decade ago. It was one of the many disgraces of the disgraceful Obama administration.
In one of Alaska’s most remote outposts, where a thousand hardy souls make their homes, the Obama administration has put the fate of birds and bears above the lives of people, blocking construction of an 11-mile gravel trail connecting a tiny fishing hamlet to a life-saving airport. King Cove has a clinic, but no hospital or doctor. Residents must fly 600 miles to Anchorage, via Cold Bay’s World War II airstrip, for most medical procedures including serious trauma cases and childbirth. Frequent gale-force winds and thick fog often delay or jeopardize medevac flights.
According to local Aleutian elders, 19 people have died since 1980 as a result of the impossible-to-navigate weather conditions during emergency evacuations.
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Monday rejected a proposal for a one-lane gravel road linking the isolated community of King Cove with the all-weather airport in Cold Bay some 22 miles away.
During an August visit to Alaska, Jewell was told that building a road that connects King Cove and Cold Bay was vital. But in December, Jewell rejected the road saying it would jeopardize waterfowl in the refuge. “She stood up in the gymnasium and told those kids, ‘I’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals,”
Democratic state Rep. Bob Herron told a local television station. “You could have heard a pin drop in that gymnasium.
Della Trumble, spokesperson for the Agdaagux Tribal Council and King Cove Corp., called Jewell’s decision “a slap in the face” just in time for the holiday week.
Etta Kuzakin, a 36-year-old King Cove resident who serves as Agdaagux tribal president, needed an emergency Caesarean section in March after going into early labor with her now 9-month-old daughter, Sunnie Rae. Giving birth in King Cove could have killed her and her baby, she said. But with medevac flights grounded by ugly weather, Kuzakin waited in labor for 10 hours until the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flew her out in the afternoon.
“If there had been a road, it would be two hours out,” she said. “I sat there in labor not knowing if I was going to die or my kid was going to die. Pretty traumatic.”
This debate has been going on since at least the 90s with Democrats repeatedly blocking the road.
Not much has changed.
The Biden administration on Tuesday announced its withdrawal of a Trump-era land swap in southwestern Alaska that it once defended in court, a day after its approval of an Alaskan oil project sparked outrage from environmentalists.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said she has withdrawn the 2019 land exchange between the federal government and the King Cove Corporation, which would have allowed the corporation to construct a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.
The following May, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the swap, which advocates have said is necessary to connect the community to medical resources.
That August, the Interior Department filed a brief in opposition to rehearing the decision, saying in a statement “any acquisition of Refuge land in Alaska through a land exchange must satisfy the purposes of conservation and protection of subsistence uses and habitat.”
Not human habitats. Obviously.
“The debate around approving the construction of a road to connect the people of King Cove to life-saving resources has created a false choice, seeded over many years, between valuing conservation and wildlife or upholding our commitments to Indigenous communities. I reject that binary choice,” Haaland wrote.
This has been going on for at least 25 years. Environmentalism is just systematic cruelty which, in this case, rewards rich white greenies at the expense of Alaskan Indian communities.