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Thread: King Cove/Cold Bay Road

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Default King Cove/Cold Bay Road

    What's the deal with this? Seems like there's plenty of villages in the state that aren't road connected to a hub, but they are not raising the same stink. How much will the road cost? Who will pay for it? Is this nothing more than gratuitous fed-bashing?http://www.thedutchharborfisherman.c..._cold_bay_road http://www.ktva.com/home/top-stories...190318811.html http://www.adn.com/2013/02/09/278261...ve-should.html
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    I'm surprised this issue is still around. I thought it was resolved a long time ago. Apparently not. So don't be fooled by the arguments. This is about a road, for whatever purposes that anyone wants a road. It's being touted as critically necessary for medical emergencies. And that's a good reason, but that is not why they want a road. They want a road for taking fish to market, to visit with friends in Cold Bay, for site-seeing, for accessing areas of the region that cannot be accessed, for joy-riding and drag-racing, and for whatever reason that people like roads. And there are thousands of those reasons. So they don't want a hovercraft, or a medical facility, a bigger landing strip, or better communications, or anything else. They just want a road.

    Further, this decision wasn't made in Washington, DC. It was made in Anchorage. That's where FWS has their Regional HQ. The Alaska Regional Director has the final decision, which is the final FWS position unless someone in DC says otherwise. As such, the Alaska delegation (Don, Lisa, Mark) might have been alot happier if the final decision WAS made in Washington, DC. But alas, it wasn't.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Not having that road is like forcing people from Palmer to fly to Wasilla when they need to go to the hospital. FWS misrepresented the issue with regard to the eel grass/black brant AND reneged on an earlier land swap deal. I can't speak to Don or Mark's response but Lisa made an angry speech on the Senate floor
    http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/...3-76a870b1006c
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    It really cuts to the deeper issue of how do you fund providing modern amenities to small remote communities that don't have an economic base or ability to provide those services themselves. Wheather it's schooling, medical care, transportation, the state is in a pickle due to mandates and politics as to how to fund and maintain these services.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    I'd rather help provide a road so that American citizens can get to a hospital than pay for free jets for Egypt or fund mosque rebuilding/computer access projects for people who will likely hate us for it.

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    Here's an update to an old issue that's been simmering for years.

    Secretary Sally supports the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the King Cove/Cold Bay road. No surprises here. But this might put an end to the issue that's been around since about 1990.

    http://www.doi.gov/news/pressrelease...d-proposal.cfm

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    This is not Washington state, and no, it will not go away. People will die because they cannot make it to a hospital in time, and the issue will resurface.
    Unlike most other villages, these folks don't have an airport. They could have one if the environmentalists did not have the upper hand with this administration, but unfortunately for the residents of King Cove, they do. It's not really about the eel grass or the brants; it's about power.

    Paul H. I think you listened to too much local talk radio! Dan Fagan used to preach on that all the time. In this case I believe it to be inaccurate, as King Cove has had a great economic base with crab, salmon and ground fish catching and processing. It is part of the Aleutians East Borough. It is self-determined, but like much of the rest of Alaska, is held hostage by the environmental lobby.

    Hopefully this will help Native people see that the environmentalists don't really care about them, but have been using them to push their anti development agenda.

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    Sayak - Upon further relection on my part, you are probably correct. This issue may not go away anytime soon.

    However, the past four Administrations (GHWB, Clinton, GWB, and Obama) have looked at this issue and have all arrived at the same conclusion: These folks want a road, but they don't need a road.

    Izembek NWR was established by Congress as a wilderness refuge for migratory birds, among other critters. Not sure I would label Congress as a bunch of "environmentalists", but we see things differently.

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    I'm for the road, after studying both sides for months. I personally view the California based envoronmental groups as easily persuaded, and unable to study things for themselves. The draft Environmental Impact Statement was flooded with parrot-like personal comments. The ones who oppose this road, don't have a good enough reason, in fact, they are racists IMO.

    The brant is the one particular subject of interest. The pacific flyway council considers the Izembek Lagoon, as the lowest threat level region along the bird's entire migration route. High snow levels on the yukon delta, allow foxes to prey on goslings in the spring, at alarming numbers. That's a problem. The harvest of this bird along the British Columbia corridor, is alarmingly higher than any location in Alaska, that's a problem. The proposed road is not the problem. No sound pollution studies that deal with road specific noises, nor proper decibel levels have been conducted in the region. The only thing the racists cite, is a study where they flew helicopters and bush planes directly over the eel grass feeding areas. Sht, I'd fly away too.

    On all the environmental websites, they continually mention the hovercraft. It was decommissioned because it doesn't reliably work, and costs an immense amount of money to maintain/operate. The hovercraft hasn't been used for a very long time. These type of blatant lies, spread across the environmental organizations, is truly disgusting.

    Elders will continue to die from treatable medical emergencies, while folks continue to oppose the road. The folks indigenous to the region, never had a chance to be part of the process of turning Izembek lagoon (their home) into federally protected lands. Very sad stuff.

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    I agree with your take on the environmental people and their general malaise of idiocy. But I dont really think that its a racist thing. I mean, the majority of people in King Cove are non native. I dont think it matters one whit, whether a community is native, phillipino, or caucasion.

    Maybe you could call it anti-rural, or anti-Alaskan, I dont know.......but I dont think that spending huge sums of taxpayers money to provide infrastructure for miniscule populations in remote wilderness locations is a very sustainable approach. At some point, I think that living in remote places comes with advantages and drawbacks...and people will have to accept those drawbacks if they choose to reside there. Not necessarily what I would prefer, but what I think will become reality more and more as time goes by.

    I dont have an opinion on the road to Cold Bay. I'm just stating my opinion on the topic of how (or if) we build and maintain infrastructure in remote places in an economic environment where we are increasingly spiralling into deeper and deeper debt with no end in sight.

    At what point do the cows inevitably come home? Just rambling.....carry on....

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    the king cove population is slightly more than half native, a bit of a change from the 2000 census which was somewhere around 47 percent. The amount of native owned lands offered in trade, is food for thought too.

    The proposed road was a single lane gravel road, to be gated on both sides. We could call it "anti-rural" as well. But to view the propaganda and correspondence that was aimed solely at the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, was some disturbing stuff to read.

    That chalet style restaurant up tram from alyeska, was a 10 million dollar pork barrel funded project. The budget for that road, isn't really a big deal compared to other state and federally funded projects IMO.

    A lot of people don't know this, but there are roads going all through Izembek for the private, elite, bird watchers. They get private trips hosted by the feds all the time. That actually costs a bit of money!

    The amount of Alaskan and Federal monies that will be poured into the Hatcher Pass ski area, will soon dwarf little things like a small gravel road.

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    I was not aware of that. ...and I am certainly not saying that there are not racists out there, just that it does not need to be a racist issue, IMO.

    Thanks for the clarification...

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    oh my friend, I like to pull the "race" thing with certain environmental or animal rights groups, they hate to hear it. It's acutally one thing that truly gets under their skin when you hold a sign in front of their San Francisco, California and New York City based locations.

    There is a native gal who tried to volunteer for PETA regarding something she was passionate about, but they wouldn't give her the job because during the interview, she had admitted to working with fur and doing traditional quill beadwork with her grandmother, as a tradition passed down to her.

    one particular thing of curiosity though, is the offshore oil and gas leases all around izembek lagoon. I have to wonder about that too though. It's never mentioned by either side, I discovered mapping of these locations, though again, it's never mentioned. Interest in this region and it's mapping, went back as fast as the 1980's. Leaves a lot to question. An Alaskan pro development organization had also written letters to Ken Salazar in support of the road, and I wonder about that too.

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    I'm no expert on political, EPA etc issues but I believe two things about the rejection of the road deal.
    1. If the road was put in it would be used for things other than what it is intended for no matter what
    2. why was there a rider in the bill to get land in Kodiak traded out of federal hands?

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    Sis - #1 above is correct, but only if you believe there was an "intended use" for the road. But there really wasn't. The local folks want a road for whatever purpose they want to use it for, which is no different than any other road anywhere in the U.S. The justification of "medical purposes" was just a selling point. Once the road went in, there would be no limitations on when or how it would be used.

    Not sure about #2. Land use exchanges between the Feds and the States, or sometimes the Tribes happen regularly, particularly for small parcels where transferring management authority makes sense. If the land exchange involves Federal land, it needs Congressional approval. There was a land exchange proposed in the King Cove/Cold Bay proposal, but since the proposal wasn't approved, neither was the land exchange. But, as far as I know, the land exchange was entirely local, not on Kodiak.

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    Coho,

    One community has a landing strip in an area where planes can actually get off the ground, the other community does not, and cannot. People have died because of this. The proposed road was to be gated on both sides. I'm uncertain why you hold that opinion that it's a selling point. Again, people have died in situations where the other community could've easily got a plane in the air. How is that merely a selling point? Don't you think people indigenous to a region have to at least have the right to create a life-saving infrastructure? They were never allowed in the original process of designating their home lagoon as federally owned lands in the first place.

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    Mainer - Here is my first post on this thread (in part), which was almost a year ago (complete with the original typos). I stand by my original statement, grammatically incorrect as it might be:

    "I'm surprised this issue is still around. I thought it was resolved a long time ago. Apparently not. So don't be fooled by the arguments. This is about a road, for whatever purposes that anyone wants a road. It's being touted as critically necessary for medical emergencies. And that's a good reason, but that is not why they want a road. They want a road for taking fish to market, to visit with friends in Cold Bay, for site-seeing, for accessing areas of the region that cannot be accessed, for joy-riding and drag-racing, and for whatever reason that people like roads. And there are thousands of those reasons. So they don't want a hovercraft, or a medical facility, a bigger landing strip, or better communications, or anything else. They just want a road."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    ...They want a road for taking fish to market, to visit with friends in Cold Bay, for site-seeing, for accessing areas of the region that cannot be accessed, for joy-riding and drag-racing, and for whatever reason that people like roads. And there are thousands of those reasons. So they don't want a hovercraft, or a medical facility, a bigger landing strip, or better communications, or anything else. They just want a road."
    I'd like to see you and the SOI stand there and explain to the Melovidov family how selfish the King Cove people are as their grandfather lays dying and the weather is too rough or socked in to evacuate him with a hovercraft, boat or seaplane.

    I'd also like you to understand that even in larger towns such as Bethel and Dillingham, folks are routinely flown into Anchorage because those relatively sophisticated facilities cannot handle many medical emergencies. Your post shows that you really don't know what life is like in an isolated village.

    Shame on them for wanting a road they are willing to help fund, maintain and even trade land for. Shame on them!

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    Oh my......

    I never said the folks in King Cove or Cold Bay were selfish. I never said they should be ashamed for wanting a road. I never said "Shame on them". I never said they were not willing to fund, maintain, or trade land for a road. Those are your words, not mine.

    I only stated that the reasons they want a road are many and varied. It goes beyond medical reasons, which is okay. Those reasons are likely no different than anyone, anywhere else. I agree that I am not familar with life in rural Alaska. However, the reasons people want a new road anywhere in the L-48 are likely the same reasons that people want a road in between villages on the Alaska Penninsula or anywhere else in rural Alaska.

    But I will say it again, if I wasn't clear before - In my view, the folks in King Cove and Cold Bay just want a road. Not a hospital, not a landing strip, not better communication, and not a hovercraft. They just want a road. So, no matter how hard the Federal government tries, providing them with something other than a road won't address their concerns.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Oh my......

    I never said the folks in King Cove or Cold Bay were selfish. I never said they should be ashamed for wanting a road. I never said "Shame on them". I never said they were not willing to fund, maintain, or trade land for a road. Those are your words, not mine.

    I only stated that the reasons they want a road are many and varied. It goes beyond medical reasons, which is okay. Those reasons are likely no different than anyone, anywhere else. I agree that I am not familar with life in rural Alaska. However, the reasons people want a new road anywhere in the L-48 are likely the same reasons that people want a road in between villages on the Alaska Penninsula or anywhere else in rural Alaska.

    But I will say it again, if I wasn't clear before - In my view, the folks in King Cove and Cold Bay just want a road. Not a hospital, not a landing strip, not better communication, and not a hovercraft. They just want a road. So, no matter how hard the Federal government tries, providing them with something other than a road won't address their concerns.
    You didn't have to say it! You inferred that wanting to use a road for anything beyond medical evacuation was something to be ashamed of, or at the least, disingenuous.

    And my point is that no American citizens should have to beg the federal government for permission to build a road. It's shamefully colonialistic and dehumanizing.

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