Environment | Health | Law

State seeks to enter lawsuit over road for Alaska Native village






A view of King Cove in Alaska. Photo from City Data

The state of Alaska is seeking to join a lawsuit that was filed by Natives who were denied a road by the Interior Department.

Gov. Sean Parnell (R) said King Cove, an Aleut village, needs the road as a matter of health and safety. He said the $21 million project through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge would be funded entirely by the state.

"After years of putting birds over the well-being of Alaskans, it’s time for the Obama administration to agree to this exchange,” Parnell said in a press release. “After all, the state of Alaska is willing to exchange more than 40,000 acres of state lands for merely nine miles of life-saving road.”

King Cove sits 30 miles from the nearest air strip in Cold Bay. The only way to get there is to via boat, a trip that can take up to two hours in choppy weather [Google Maps: No Directions] or by flying.

The plaintiffs include the Agdaagux Tribe, the King Cove Corporation, the Native Village of Belkofski and two tribal members who have had health-related emergencies. The complaint notes that 11 people have died since 1980 trying to make the trip from King Cove to Cold Bay.

Get the Story:
State asks to join King Cove’s lawsuit over road access (The Alaska Journal of Commerce 7/8)
State Seeks to Intervene in King Cove Lawsuit (KTUU 7/1)
King Cove residents welcome state's motion (The Cordova Times 6/30)

An Opinion:
Editorial: State right to act on King Cove road: Federal government should rethink denial of route through refuge (The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 7/6)

Related Stories:
Alaska Natives sue Interior Department to build road in refuge (6/5)
Alaska plans to sue DOI over controversial road for Native village (4/9)
Editorial: Secretary Jewell makes bad call on Native village road (4/7)
Alaska Native leaders in DC to make case for controversial road (03/25)
Lisa Murkowski: Road to nowhere a lifesaver for Native village (3/19)
Opinion: Secretary Jewell ignores trust obligations to village (3/17)
Lisa Murkowski: DOI decision leaves Alaska Native village at risk (2/26)
Secretary Jewell axes road project for Alaska Native village (1/3)