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House Passes King Cove Road Land Exchange Act


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 20, 2017 -

Today, the House passed H.R. 218, the “King Cove Road Land Exchange Act” (Rep. Don Young, R-AK), legislation to facilitate a life-saving road for the isolated community of King Cove, Alaska. The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 248-179.

“This is truly an issue of life or death for the residents of the isolated community of King Cove,” Rep. Young said. Sadly, this legislation is only necessary because of the heartless actions of the previous administration, which denied previous efforts by Congress to authorize the construction of this road. That decision, which placed the interests of environmentalists and wildlife over human life, was one of the worst government actions I’ve seen in all my years. I thank all those, including Chairman Bishop, for standing by the people of King Cove in support of this commonsense legislation. Without question, it will save lives. The people of King Cove have fought for over 30 years for safe and reliable access to emergency care and it’s past time we make it a reality. Frankly, I will not rest until we do.”

“The people of Alaska who have engaged in this effort over the last three-plus decades have been rebuffed at every turn in which the only answer they got was the federal government giving them an alternative that flat out didn’t work,” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) stated. “All of the efforts and anguish of these people in Alaska went to naught because a bureaucracy here decided they knew best, despite what the people of Alaska needed. [Do] those of us sitting here 6,000 miles away really have the superior wisdom to tell those people living in King Cove how they should live their life? The simple solution is to build a road. The State of Alaska is giving up roughly 40,000 acres in exchange for 206 acres so the native Alaskan community can have access to medical care. This is the right this to do.”

“It’s time for us to do something to help people, to put people above ideology,” he added.

Background:

H.R. 218 authorizes a land exchange between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of Alaska to construct an 11-mile, one lane, non-commercial road connecting the remote community of King Cove to a modern, all-weather airport with access to emergency medical services in Cold Bay, Alaska.

Harsh weather conditions routinely ground planes and prohibit sea travel, isolating the residents of King Cove during medical emergencies. At least 19 deaths have been attributed to the lack of a safe and reliable transportation route to access emergency services.  

The bill is supported by the entire Alaskan Congressional delegation, Governor Bill Walker (I-AK), the residents of King Cove, Alaska, the Alaskan State Legislature, the Agdaagux Tribal Council and the National Congress of American Indians. 

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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