Murkowski again urges Jewell to allow for King Cove road

On the heels of a Coast Guard medical evacuation in King Cove on Friday, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski again urged Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to allow a road that would connect King Cove, the small Aleutian Island village, to Cold Bay, another small village about 22 miles away with an all-weather airport.

On Friday, 63-year-old Irene Newman had to be evacuated from King Cove to Cold Bay, where she was then transferred via life flight to the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. Newman had experienced heart failure.

Fearing the destruction of birding habitat, the Interior Department has refused to allow the road, which would cut through a slice of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Murkowski has made the road a major issue since the latest decision not to allow the road was issued on Dec. 23.

“Friday was just the latest example of the unnecessary risk the Interior Department is willing to submit Alaskans to in the name of protecting bird habitat,” Murkowski said. “While plenty of our smallest communities face transportation challenges, none are as close to an all-weather runway and safe access to hospital care as King Cove. To be left in harm’s way, not because of geography, but because of the callous decisions of Washington bureaucrats is unacceptable.”

The Coast Guard received the rescue call on Friday night at about 4:20 p.m. By 5:15, the Coast Guard helicopter had determined that conditions were too dangerous for a commercial flight. It was snowing and the winds were blowing up to 70 miles an hour.

Three Coasties — two pilots and an airline mechanic– made the flight to King Cove. At about 7:20, Newman was in Cold Bay, waiting to be transported to Anchorage. All told there was about a 30 minute weather delay, according to the Coast Guard.

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5 thoughts on “Murkowski again urges Jewell to allow for King Cove road

  1. BW

    This is NOT a big deal in the scope of all the issues confronting AK. However, it is emblematic of what is wrong with the Obama administration and their calloue diregard for our state. Thank goodness Lisa and Don will fight the fight. No I didn’t forget Begich. It’s just difficult to imagine that he’ll do anything after six years of being the President’s lap dog. My mistake, I apologize for the incorrect statement – – afterall, hek4 only been the president’s 97% of the time

  2. WTF

    Lisa Murkoiwski deserves our respect and gratitude for her persistence on this issue. It may not seem like a big deal yet from my vantage point it represents everything that is wrong with the current President and how his administration treats Alaska – – he opposed development in our state and mouths health care while letting people potentially die because he wants to protect birds more than human life. The sad thing : Begich supports the President 97% of the timekowski, we owe you our thanks. Begich, we’ve seen enough of you.

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