22 May 2012 Strong Opposition Voiced Against Izembek Road Proposal Posted by: James Navarro | 1 comment | Share: Defenders’ members and supporters submitted more than 40,000 public comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week, voicing opposition to a proposed land swap and road through the ecological heart of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. It’s one of Alaska’s most diverse refuges, with lagoons, tundra and stunning mountain peaks. This incredible habitat is home to brown bears, wolverines, caribou and other wildlife. Tens of thousands of waterfowl, seabirds and shorebirds rely on the Izembek Refuge for nesting and feeding. In fact, each fall the refuge shelters nearly the entire population of Pacific black brant and emperor geese. But the community of King Cove (population 938) wants to build a road through federally protected Wilderness lands within the refuge that would put this wondrous place at risk. In exchange for some $38 million in federal funding to modernize medical facilities and to develop a marine transportation system (including a $9-million hovercraft for emergency medical evacuation), community officials in 1998 had agreed to leave Izembek alone. A land swap and road proposal threaten the Izembek Nation Wildlife Refuge. Now the town is backtracking on its promise and vigorously lobbying federal officials and the Fish and Wildlife Service to approve the precedent-setting land swap that would clear the way for this unnecessary, destructive road. Community representatives claim it would improve emergency access to a nearby airport in Cold Bay, Alaska, but experts estimate that it would take some two hours to reach the airport traveling by road versus approximately 20 minutes by hovercraft, which has successfully performed more than 30 evacuations since 2007. While a final decision is likely to still be months off, it will be difficult for federal officials to ignore such widespread opposition to the proposal. A huge thanks on behalf of Izembek’s wild ones goes out to all of you who spoke out against the road. One Response to “Strong Opposition Voiced Against Izembek Road Proposal” Taye Rosser May 22nd, 2012 A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives. Albert Schweitzer. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Two Too Many Development Projects in the Ivanpah Valley While these projects most definitely directly impact a species that has been identified as threatened and is dependent on the habitat where they would be built, Silver State South and Stateline’s approval is most troubling for a bigger reason. You see, this isn’t just an issue for the Ivanpah Valley. Developers and agencies need to be conscious of how and where they plan energy projects all across the country. They need to look at renewable energy planning with a landscape-wide lens, understanding that building in the right places and making an effort to minimize environmental impacts from the start are essential. California’s Rim Fire: Opportunities Rise from the Ashes After California’s devastating Rim Fire, will officials take the opportunity to give nature a chance to fully recover? What Montana Isn’t Saying: Why Wild Bison Aren’t Welcome in the State Montana is rounding up wild bison as they leave Yellowstone National Park and shipping them to slaughter. But why?