American Elephants

“Greens” Embarrass Themselves Once Again by The Elephant's Child

King Cove is back in the news again. An Alaskan tribal council voted yesterday to aid the Department of the Interior in a lawsuit filed by a coalition of environmental organizations against  the Department of the Interior and Secretary Zinke over a federal land swap to save Aleutian tribal lives.

In January Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke approved a land swap that would turn over 500 acres of federal wilderness to King Cove, Alaska, so the small city could complete the construction of a land route to Cold Bay, and the region’s only all-weather airport.

King Cove is a small fishing town of about  1,000 souls on the remote Aleutian coast. They call themselves King Cove City. People there have accidents, have babies, have trauma and other health issues that may need fairly immediate attention. For emergency cases they must get to the all-weather World War II airport in Cold Bay, 11 miles away. They requested of the Interior Department a 11 mile-long, one-lane gravel road which would provide for all-weather access for transportation for the 600 miles to Anchorage and doctors and hospitals.

At least 18 residents of King Cove have died because foul weather prevented a rescue helicopter from reaching King Cove. The town has a clinic for ordinary accidents, but no doctor and no hospital. It has a tiny airport, which is frequently socked-in with gale-force winds or fog. Back in March of 2014, Etta Kuzakin, a 36-year-old resident who was the tribal president, needed an emergency Caesarean section after going into early labor with her daughter. Giving birth in King Cove could have killed her and her baby. Medevac flights were grounded by ugly weather. She waited in labor for ten hours when a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter was finally able to fly her out. Mother and daughter survived, thanks to the Coast Guard.

Sally Jewell, Obama’s Interior Secretary, met with Aleutian citizens in the gymnasium at King Cove to listen to their request for a single one-lane gravel lifeline to a dependable airport.  Ms. Jewell, former head of R.E.I. told her King Cove audience that “I’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals.” She rejected the road, saying that “it would jeopardize waterfowl in the refuge.”

Waterfowl fly, hop and walk. They are quite able to walk off a rarely used road to avoid being run over by a vehicle. They are not flightless species. A waterfowl’s potential annoyance at having to move trumps human life every time? Environmentalists always leave a mess behind.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke approved a land swap in January, turning over 500 acres of federal wilderness to King Cove to finish their road. Five hundred acres sounds like a lot of land, but it isn’t really much. I grew up on 400 acres, and I knew every inch. King Cove residents have been begging for this road for 35 years. At least 18 King Cove residents have died from causes related to not having a road available.

Nine ‘environmental’ groups, led by Friends of Alaska Wildlife Refuges, are pushing to block the land swap. They are accompanied by all the usual suspects: Wilderness, Audubon, Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club and 4 others. One would assume that the idiocy of their lawsuit would be so apparent that there would be no contest, but Sally Jewell demonstrates the closure of the leftist mind. This is a swap, not a giveaway.

King Cove Corporation Spokeswoman Della Trumble said “After fighting for decades for a road, we will do everything in our power to defend the land exchange. This is a matter of life and death for us.”


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