Tag Archives: king cove

Interior Secretary Jewell wishes Alaskans would ‘get over’ King Cove road

Among a crowd of lawmakers from across the country at the White House on Friday, Alaska state House Majority Leader Lance Pruitt asked Interior Secretary Sally Jewell about her decision to continue to bar a potentially life-saving road through a federal wildlife refuge in Southeast Alaska.

He was shocked by her response.

“I wish that Alaskans would get over it,” Jewell said, according to Pruitt, who wrote down the quote, referring to the long-fought-for road from King Cove to Cold Bay. Pruitt said she talked about other issues that she felt were “more important” than the road, like opening up lands for oil development in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, and offshore drilling in the Arctic.

“Do you know how you feel when you get punched in the gut? That’s how I felt,” Pruitt said in a phone interview on Friday. “What she basically said is that drilling is more important than saving lives.”

Other lawmakers in the room approached Pruitt after the meeting, describing Jewell’s reaction as “arrogant.” Continue reading


For fifth time this year, Coast Guard evacuates patient from King Cove

For the fifth time this year, the Coast Guard performed a dangerous rescue operation out of King Cove. On Monday night, a fisherman’s eye was injured while on board the Seattle-based processor near Unimak Island in the North Pacific Ocean. The safest deep water port was King Cove on Alaska’s Aleutian Chain.  However, there is no ophthalmologist on King Cove, and as many Alaskans know, the road that could have been used to transport the fisherman to the all-weather airport in Cold Bay, from where he was eventually medevaced to Anchorage, has been blocked by the Interior Department and by environmentalists.

The fisherman made it to King Cove at 11:30 a.m. Due to high winds and seas, the Coast Guard didn’t make it to King Cove until 3 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been fighting vigilantly to get the Interior Department to allow the road, which would cut through a slice of a wildlife refuge. According to her office, each Coast Guard transport costs as much as $210,000.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Quote of the day: Murkowski okay with civil disobedience

“If the people of King Cove believe perhaps rightly so that civil disobedience is what it will take to get a level of attention to this, you’re not going to find me standing in the way.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski talking to reporters after her address to the Alaska state Legislature about King Cove’s fight with the Interior Department to be allowed to build a small gravel road to Cold Bay, about 22 miles away. Read about the road here and here.


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.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com