Washington D.C. (KINY) - Alaska Wilderness League welcomed Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s announcement, withdrawing a land exchange between the Interior Department and King Cove Corporation authorized by former Secretary Bernhardt in July 2019.
The Izembek National Wildlife Refuge lies along the Alaska Peninsula and is one of America’s ecologically significant Refuges, home to wetlands that support millions of migrating birds, fish, and caribou. According to the Alaska Wilderness League, for decades, DOI denied proposals for a land exchange to facilitate a road through a federally designated Wilderness within the Refuge due to the irreversible harm that such a road would cause. Under the Obama administration, a three-year study found this road to be unnecessary, not in the public’s best interest, and harmful to Izembek’s lands and waters. The result of this study protected Izembek for conservation and subsistence uses alike, as Congress intended in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.
Andy Moderow, Senior Director of Policy for the Alaska Wilderness League, released the following statement on March 14th, 2023:
“We are grateful that Secretary Haaland took action today to protect the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge against an improper, Trump-era land exchange,” Moderow said. “Alaska’s public lands and waters can provide for current and future generations only if they are protected from irreversible harm. Today’s action by Secretary Haaland is a necessary step toward restoring long-term thinking to protecting Izembek’s unique resources, for biodiversity and sustainable uses alike.”
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