U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following statement after the Agdaagux tribe of King Cove and its fellow plaintiffs appealed a District Court decision in their lawsuit against Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. Jewell rejected a short, gravel, life-saving road for the isolated community in December 2013, and local residents have since then been forced to endure 35 additional medevacs, including 12 requiring the U.S. Coast Guard at taxpayer expense.
“We should pursue every available option to ensure the construction of a life-saving road for King Cove, including litigation that will force the Interior Department to defend its unconscionable decision in court,” Murkowski said. “I remain focused on building bipartisan support for a legislative solution, but welcome this appeal as another step to force Interior to do the right thing. There is no question that Secretary Jewell made a terrible decision that continues to deny nearly 1,000 Alaskans with reliable access to emergency medical care.”