Deal reached for land swap for road through wildlife refuge

 Izembek NWR fall colors (Photo from Kristine Sowl/USFWS)
Izembek NWR fall colors (Photo from Kristine Sowl/USFWS) (KTUU)
Published: Jul. 24, 2019 at 1:26 PM AKDT
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Community and tribal leaders in a remote Alaska village say they've signed a new land exchange agreement with the Interior Department that could lead to the construction of a road through a national wildlife refuge.

The communities of King Cove and Cold Bay near the tip of the Alaska Peninsula for decades have sought a land connection through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, an internationally recognized habitat for migrating waterfowl.

Foul weather makes flying to King Cove hazardous. A road would give residents access to emergency flights at an all-weather airport.

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason in March ruled that a previous land exchange agreement violated federal law.

An email message requesting Interior Department comment was not immediately returned.

Defenders of Wildlife President Jamie Rappaport Clark says the matter will again be challenged in court.

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