(Juneau, AK) – Tuesday Interior Secretary Deb Haaland withdrew a land exchange that had been authorized in 2019 to build an 11-mile gravel road connecting the communities of King Cove and Cold Bay.
Currently, when a resident in King Cove needs a medical evacuation, emergency services are dependent on good weather at the village’s airstrip. The community of Cold Bay has an all-weather airport that provides significantly greater access to emergency services.
“While Secretary Haaland claims that she wants to consider alternative land exchanges, that will push the entire process back to square one and place the lives of King Cove residents at risk today,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “The fact is her decision to halt the land swap increases the likelihood that a resident in King Cove won’t be able to receive life-saving medical treatment in time due to bad weather at the villages airstrip. The 11-mile road from King Cove to Cold Bay would connect residents in King Cove to an all-weather airport in Cold Bay and would save lives. It makes zero sense that Secretary Haaland would want to deprive Alaskans of the life-saving services the road would provide access to.”