State leaders applaud King Cove Road approval

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The deal is done. King Cove residents will get a road connecting them to Cold Bay. After decades of pushback, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed a land transfer Monday allowing for a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. King Cove resident Della Trumble says this will save lives.

Photo: Pixabay

Della Trumble; King Cove Resident >>
In times of emergencies, you don't have to hold your breath and wonder are you going to make it or not.

Trumble and other Alaskan leaders say King Cove's isolation has lead to 18 deaths. Hazardous conditions sometimes make it impossible to connect with other communities for basic services. Governor Bill Walker says this is a momentous day.

Gov. Bill Walker; (I) Alaska >>
This really tells the people in that region that they matter. That their safety and their health matter.

Congressman Don Young says he's been pushing for the road for 35 years. He says King Cove has suffered because of environmental concerns.

Rep. Don Young; (R) Alaska >>
This is a cause celebre for the environmental crazies. And they *are crazy because they put a goose life over a human life.

Congressman Young calls them "environmental crazies", but opponents of the construction maintain that the road *will have negative impacts.

Adam Kolton; Alaska Wilderness League >>
We see this as a very dangerous precedent that turns over public land held in trust for all Americans that protects iconic wildlife for a road that would provide very little benefit to the community.

Adam Kolton from Alaska Wilderness League says other options like a ferry would be a safer connection to Cold Bay for residents of King Cove. He says a road would be dangerous in bad weather, a point refuted by supporters of the road.

Adam Kolton >>
This is a bad deal for taxpayers, this is a bad deal for the environment. This is not the safer option for people in the area.

It is expected to take months of surveys and tests before construction on the road begins. In Washington, I'm Peter Zampa, news center 11.