Gov. Sean Parnell was in King Cove Friday to sign a resolution urging the federal government to allow an access road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.
The road would connect King Cove to Cold Bay’s all-weather airport for medevacs. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell nixed the plan last year, saying it would damage protected wilderness.
Now, Parnell and the state legislature are the latest to ask Jewell to reverse that decision. Rep. Bob Herron proposed House Joint Resolution 30 earlier this year. On Friday, Gov. Parnell signed it into law in King Cove’s school gym.
Parnell said in a press release, “I do not think [Secretary Jewell] realizes what she has done: She has put people in peril. My respect for her leads me to believe that she simply doesn’t understand. I do believe she is capable of changing her mind.”
King Cove Corporation spokeswoman Della Trumble called the resolution “symbolic of Alaska’s deep concern for the safety of the Aleut people of King Cove” in a separate release Friday.
Trumble represents village and tribal groups who sued the federal government for the right to build the road earlier this year. The state of Alaska has signed on to join them in that suit. The state is also filing its own suit, asking the government for a right-of-way through the Izembek refuge.