Interior has been mostly silent on the issue until now. Federal attorneys filed a motion on Friday to get King Cove’s lawsuit thrown out of court. And Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told her biggest critics that she will not reconsider her decision to block the road.
They all carry the same basic message: The Interior Department is committed to fixing transportation, so King Cove residents can catch medevac flights at the all-weather airport on the other side of the refuge. But the Interior Department also doesn’t think a road is the way to get them there.
This is the first time Jewell has made substantive remarks on this issue since she rejected the road plan in December. In her letters, Jewell writes it was her “hope and invitation that King Cove residents would participate in the development of other transportation improvement options.”
Those include a ferry and better helicopter service. But neither would work in bad weather, according to King Cove’s mayor, Henry Mack.
He and several other residents put out a statement criticizing the Interior Secretary. And for now, they’re pressing ahead with their lawsuit — and their effort to reverse Jewell’s decision.
- Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she needs time to review a health care bill drafted by fellow Republicans to understand its effects.
- Advocacy group Alaska Trails sent a letter to let Gov. Bill Walker know that transportation funds are at risk. Alaska returned $2.6 million to the U.S. Department of Transportation last September.
- The Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association has been trying to move a majority of its net pens in the Tutka Bay Lagoon to the head of Tutka Bay for about four years. The hotly debated issue has led to packed community meetings and questions about the impact of raising fish in the area.
- A lot of science involves happy accidents. A retired scientist from Oregon stepped off the ferry in Sitka late last month, and on a hunch decided to look around the woods for an old friend.