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30th Legislature(2017-2018)

Bill Text 30th Legislature

00 Enrolled HJR 6                                                                                                          
01 Expressing the Alaska State Legislature's support and appreciation for legislation introduced                           
02 by the state's congressional delegation that would allow for the construction of a single-lane                          
03 gravel road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, connecting the community of                                   
04 King Cove with the Cold Bay Airport; and urging the United States Congress to pass the                                  
05 legislation.                                                                                                            
06                                        _______________                                                                  
07 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                             
08      WHEREAS the short gravel airstrip at King Cove is unusable for 100 days a year, on                                 
09 average, because of the high winds and poor visibility typical of the severe storms that are                            
10 commonplace in the region; and                                                                                          
11      WHEREAS the Cold Bay Airport is located less than 30 miles from King Cove and                                      
12 boasts the third largest runway in the state and also includes a cross-wind runway and an                               
13 instrument approach system for foul weather; and                                                                        
14      WHEREAS, if a person in King Cove suffers a serious medical emergency, the                                         
15 limited medical facilities in the community and in Cold Bay require that the person be flown                            
16 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 S. 101 and H.R. 218, introduced, respectively, by Senator Lisa                                             
30 Murkowski and Representative Don Young, would ensure continuing federal legislative                                     
31 authority for this long-awaited, lifesaving undertaking;                                                                
01      BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature expresses its profound support                                    
02 and appreciation for S. 101, sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski and cosponsored by                                     
03 Senator Dan Sullivan, and H.R. 218, sponsored by Representative Don Young; and be it                                    
04      FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully and strongly                                       
05 urges the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives to pass these                             
06 measures swiftly and make possible the dramatic improvement to life and safety that the                                 
07 residents of King Cove have sought for decades.                                                                         
08      COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Lisa Murkowski and the                                    
09 Honorable Dan Sullivan, U.S. Senators, and the Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative,                                
10 members of the Alaska delegation in Congress; and all other members of the 115th United                                 
11 States Congress.                                                                                                        
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