Trump administration appeals ruling that blocked Izembek road

The Alaska Peninsula fishing village of King Cove has pushed for construction of a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, which residents say would allow more consistent access to a jet runway in neighboring Cold Bay for medical evacuations. (Photo by Berett Wilber/KUCB)

President Donald Trump’s administration has appealed a federal judge’s rejection of a plan aimed at building a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge on the Alaska Peninsula.

Two months ago, Judge John Sedwick threw out a land trade between the federal government and an Alaska Native village corporation aimed at advancing the road project. He said the trade was illegal because it violated two separate federal laws, the Administrative Procedure Act and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

Another judge tosses land swap for King Cove road

The Trump administration issued a notice Friday saying it would appeal the ruling.

Residents of the isolated Alaska Peninsula village of King Cove, with support from Alaska elected leaders, have pushed for construction of the road for decades. They say a road would make it easier to reach the nearby airport in the town of Cold Bay for lifesaving medical evacuations.

Environmental groups argue that the road could still be impassable during the winter and foul weather, and that the construction and traffic could harm Izembek’s birds and wildlife.

This is the second time the Trump administration’s land exchange has been challenged in federal court. An earlier version was also thrown out by a different federal judge last year.