WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has approved legislation allowing a proposed road through a remote national wildlife refuge in Alaska that was rejected by the Obama administration.
A bill approved Thursday would grant a land exchange allowing Alaska to build the road between two rural communities, King Cove and Cold Bay. They sit near the tip of the Alaska Peninsula, 600 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Supporters say the road is needed because strong winds and mountains make air travel in the region unpredictable, creating life-threatening problems in medical emergencies. Critics counter that the road threatens migratory birds and other animals, including caribou, brown bears and sea otters. It would lie within the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.
Congress approved a land exchange in 2009, but then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell rejected the plan in 2013.