06 February 2013 No Road Through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Posted by: Alex Slippen | Leave a comment | Share: Izembek National Wildlife Refuge (c)USFWS Alex Slippen, Communications Associate This week, the Department of the Interior signaled its preferred alternative to deny a request to build a road through remote wilderness areas of Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. The nearby city of King Cove, Alaska (pop. 938) had been advocating building a road that would connect King Cove to Cold Bay, Alaska, a move conservation organizations feared would severely damage the refuge and set a horrible precedent for future wilderness refuge management decisions. Interior secretary Ken Salazar has 30 days to make the final determination that the road is not in the public interest to block a land exchange that would have facilitated its construction. Our president, Jamie Rappaport Clark, had this to say about the decision: “The Department of the Interior was faced with a very difficult decision to make on the proposed Izembek road, but ultimately it has made the correct one given the wildlife and wilderness resources at stake. The proposed road would have significantly damaged an ecologically sensitive and critical part of the refuge that migratory species like the Pacific Black Brant depend upon. It also would have set a dangerous precedent for the future of wildlife refuge and wilderness area management across the country. Secretary Salazar takes his responsibilities for the Alaskan Native community very seriously, but in this case he was not persuaded that building a road through a wilderness refuge was the best solution to a difficult problem. National wildlife refuges are special places we as a nation have set aside as safe havens for wildlife. The Interior department has made a responsible choice to protect the integrity of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge and the wildlife refuge system as a whole.” Want to learn more about how Defenders works to protect national wildlife refuges? Click here. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Senate Wakes Up to Climate Change…At Least Some of Them Tonight more than 20 senators will be taking over the Senate floor to pull an all-nighter to “wake up” Congress to climate change. Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Helicopter gunning kills 23 wolves in Idaho; Urge Secretary Jewell to abandon gray wolf delisting proposal — Call your representative by March 14; Washington wildlife agency urged to end support for abolishing federal wolf protections; The latest on Governor Otter’s wolf control board. 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.