Republican News

Republican News

Murkowski Hopeful That New Administration Will Protect Local Residents

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following statement to mark the third anniversary of the Obama administration’s heartless rejection of a life-saving road for the people of King Cove, Alaska. 

“In a few short weeks, President Obama and Secretary Jewell will leave office having profoundly failed many Alaskans, but none more so than those who live in King Cove," Murkowski said. "This administration's initial decision to reject a life-saving road was horrible enough. Their refusal to do anything to help this community in the three years since that decision – watching callously as it has endured medevac after medevac – is simply unforgivable. And it is even more unbelievable that the president and Secretary Jewell have chosen to spend their last days attempting to lock down Alaska, somehow judging that to be a higher priority than the protection of human lives. 

“The best news for the people of King Cove and much of the rest of Alaska is that the Obama administration is almost over. Along with Sen. Sullivan and Congressman Young, I will do everything I can to work with our new president to end the years of suffering and injustice that King Cove has faced at the hands of our own federal government. I truly hope that as a result of new leadership for our country, help is finally on the way for King Cove." 

In 2009, Alaska’s congressional delegation secured the approval of legislation to facilitate a 206-acre road corridor within the 315,000-acre Izembek National Wilderness Refuge, in return for a 300:1 land exchange in the federal government’s favor. The corridor is needed to construct a short, gravel, one-lane, non-commercial land link to the all-weather airport in nearby Cold Bay and would provide nearly 1,000 local residents with reliable access to emergency transportation during severe weather conditions. However, Secretary Jewell formally rejected the road corridor and land exchange on December 23, 2013, claiming that they were not in the public interest. 

In the absence of a life-saving road, local residents are forced to live in fear that they will not be able to reach proper medical care in emergency circumstances. These fears are well-founded, as a total of 19 people have died in plane crashes or waiting to be medevaced since the creation of the Izembek refuge. A total of 55 medevacs, including 17 by the U.S. Coast Guard, have occurred just since the Obama administration’s rejection of a life-saving road in December 2013.

Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.