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Senator Murkowski Attempts to Reach Out to Secretary Jewell

Office of Senator Lisa Murkowski

It’s been seven months since Interior Secretary Sally Jewell rejected a road that would connect King Cove and Cold Bay.  US Senator Lisa Murkowski sent a letter Wednesday to Secretary Jewell expressing her disappointment in the lack of action. 

King Cove is 25 miles away from Cold Bay, the residents of King Cove would like a direct road to the Cold Bay all weather airport so in the event of a medical emergency it will be faster and easier to Medevac to safety. 

Both US Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich believe that this road is imperative to the safety of those in King Cove and earlier this month, Governor Sean Parnell announced that the State of Alaska filed a motion to intervene in support of the Izembek Road. 

In her letter to the Secretary, Murkowski laid out important dates in the dispute including; December 23rd the Secretary rejecting the road, January 16th the King Cove leaders requesting reconsideration, and March 25th residents of King Cove traveling to Washington, DC to meet with the secretary. 

Murkowski also released a YouTube video expressing her frustrations. She says in the seven months since the Secretary’s rejection, there has been no explanation as to why the road can’t be built. 

“And it’s not as if the Secretary hasn’t been asked for her responses. She has failed to respond to the record of decision. She has failed to respond to countless inquiries that I have made in writing and hearing. She has failed to respond to the people of King Cove who when she asked for additional ideas for them and said that she was going to consider them. She has failed to communicate. It’s not acceptable.”

The letter asked that the Secretary prioritize the responses that Murkowski believes are owed.  It also asks that the Secretary return to King Cove and explain to the residents her plan for the area and explain her decision. 

“And to look the people in the eye and tell them what her proposal is, how she will ensure that as the Secretary of the Interior, she gives the people who live there the same consideration to their safety and their security as she seemingly affords the water fowl in the Izembek Refuge.”

A spokesperson for the Secretary of the Interior says "The Secretary respects the Senator's passion for Alaska and is optimistic that they can continue to work together on the vast range of issues that are important to Alaskans."