Now, eight of them are stepping up to defend the government’s decision in court.
The Sierra Club, the Audubon Society and Wilderness Watch are among those joining Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in a federal lawsuit. According to a recent filing, the groups will focus their arguments on “protecting the exceptional wilderness and wildlife values of Izembek.”
The lawsuit was originally brought forward by local governments, tribes and residents of King Cove and Belkofski.
They’ve been fighting to construct a road through the refuge for decades. When the Interior Secretary turned it down, they argue that she violated her trust responsibility to Alaska Natives — and federal law.
The court has agreed to let the State of Alaska join the lawsuit and help King Cove make its case for road access.
- Mayor Ken Koelsch, Debbie White and Mary Becker opposed it. Deputy Mayor Jerry Nankervis was on a scratchy phone connection and did not respond to the roll call to vote.
- The proposal for a 130-unit high-rise apartment building to be built over a downtown city parking lot has alarmed some community members. But city officials say there is no final plan and closure of the deal is still months away.
- “Things have to have an endpoint to it, or they have to have something that keeps directing you, telling you that you’re in the right area,” said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.
- The Department of the Interior announced today that 29 local Alaska governments would receive $29.7 million in Payment in Lieu of Taxes funds, or PILT.