HJR 6: Expressing the Alaska State Legislature's support and appreciation for legislation introduced by the state's congressional delegation that would allow for the construction of a single-lane gravel road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, connecting the community of King Cove with the Cold Bay Airport; and urging the United States Congress to pass the legislation.
00 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 6 01 Expressing the Alaska State Legislature's support and appreciation for legislation 02 introduced by the state's congressional delegation that would allow for the construction 03 of a single-lane gravel road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, connecting 04 the community of King Cove with the Cold Bay Airport; and urging the United States 05 Congress to pass the legislation. 06 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 07 WHEREAS the short gravel airstrip at King Cove is unusable for 100 days a year, on 08 average, because of the high winds and poor visibility typical of the severe storms that are 09 commonplace in the region; and 10 WHEREAS the Cold Bay Airport is located less than 30 miles from King Cove and 11 boasts the third largest runway in the state and also includes a cross-wind runway and an 12 instrument approach system for foul weather; and 13 WHEREAS, if a person in King Cove suffers a serious medical emergency, the 14 limited medical facilities in the community and in Cold Bay require that the person be flown 15 to Anchorage, which is more than 600 miles away; and
01 WHEREAS, over the past three decades, several small planes have crashed, 11 02 individuals have perished during flights into or out of King Cove, and eight lives have been 03 lost because of weather hindering the transportation of sick or injured King Cove residents to 04 medical facilities in Anchorage in a timely manner; and 05 WHEREAS the weather conditions that frequently make flying perilous or impossible 06 often render medical evacuations by boat between King Cove and Cold Bay perilous or 07 impossible as well; and 08 WHEREAS, even in fair weather, medical evacuations by boat expend precious 09 amounts of time and are complicated by inadequate docking facilities at Cold Bay that 10 sometimes require patients to be hoisted more than 20 feet from a boat's deck to the dock; and 11 WHEREAS, for more than 30 years, community members and tribal leaders of King 12 Cove have campaigned for a safe and reliable road crossing the Izembek National Wildlife 13 Refuge to the all-weather Cold Bay Airport; and 14 WHEREAS Senator Lisa Murkowski included a provision in the Omnibus Public 15 Lands Management Act of 2009 that allowed for the exchange of federal and nonfederal land 16 in the state for the construction of a road between King Cove and Cold Bay; and 17 WHEREAS, in 2010, the Alaska State Legislature concurred with this provision in 18 the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 by unanimously approving the proposed 19 land exchange and road construction; and 20 WHEREAS, even though the 12.5 miles of single-lane gravel road to cross the 21 Izembek National Wildlife Refuge would require only a 206-acre corridor representing just 22 0.06 percent of the 315,000-acre refuge, former Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, 23 announced on December 23, 2015, that she refused to make a determination that the road is in 24 the public interest; and 25 WHEREAS, since the former secretary's announcement, 55 additional emergency 26 medical evacuations, 17 of which had to be performed by the United States Coast Guard, have 27 occurred between King Cove and Cold Bay, further demonstrating the necessity for a road 28 link between the communities; and 29 WHEREAS, because of the former secretary's refusal to approve the road, federal 30 legislative authority for the land exchange and road construction expired on March 29, 2016, 31 making new federal legislation necessary to provide for the land exchange and road
01 construction; and 02 WHEREAS S. 3204 and H.R. 5777, introduced, respectively, by Senator Lisa 03 Murkowski and Representative Don Young, would once again provide federal legislative 04 authority for this long-awaited, lifesaving undertaking; 05 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature expresses its profound support 06 and appreciation for S. 3204, sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski and co-sponsored by 07 Senator Dan Sullivan, and H.R. 5777, sponsored by Representative Don Young; and be it 08 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully and strongly 09 urges the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives to pass these 10 measures swiftly and make possible the dramatic improvement to life and safety that the 11 residents of King Cove have sought for decades. 12 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Lisa Murkowski and the 13 Honorable Dan Sullivan, U.S. Senators, and the Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, 14 members of the Alaska delegation in Congress; and all other members of the 115th United 15 States Congress.