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 Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Safety Pens Mean Peace of Mind in Panther Country For Floridians who live alongside Florida panthers, coexistence means finding ways to protect both their beloved pets and these critically endangered cats. Building an enclosure is a great solution, especially for backyard animals. It’s Time to Act for Right Whales Years after they agreed to expand critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales, we’re still waiting on NMFS to follow through. So we took to the courts to get this much-needed protection in place. How Should We Honor Earth Day? America has many worldwide firsts in conservation: we were the first nation to establish a national park, the first to create a national wildlife refuge, the first to approve a law protecting endangered species and the first to create a national day dedicated to conservation, Earth Day. But today, we are experiencing another period of crisis in America’s commitment to conservation. When did conservation become a polarizing political issue, when it has been, for the past century, a defining characteristic of American values and the American spirit?