Legislative Hearing Is Part of Broad GOP Anti-public-lands Agenda
WASHINGTON – The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a legislative hearing this afternoon on a bill introduced by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) that would remove hundreds of acres from Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in order to construct a road across the refuge. The Interior Department has studied this issue exhaustively, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluding that the road would cause significant, long-term, irreparable damage to this internationally important fish and wildlife habitat and the wilderness values of the refuge.
“This public land giveaway would irreversibly harm the wildlife that call Izembek home,” said Randi Spivak, the Center for Biological Diversity’s public lands director. “Building a road through this iconic and fragile wilderness is incredibly shortsighted and would deny future generations of Americans the opportunity to visit a unique, unspoiled wild refuge.”
Rep. Young’s H.R. 218 would carve out 206 acres from Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in exchange for low-quality state lands to build a detrimental road connecting the towns of King Cove and Cold Bay. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R- Alaska) has introduced a Senate companion bill, S. 101.
The Izembek National Wildlife Refuge is a globally important area for millions of migrating birds as well as important habitat for grizzly bears and salmon. Congress designated virtually all of the refuge as a wilderness in 1980.