At least that better be her excuse, otherwise this complete disregard for human safety, out of deference to fuzzy woodland creatures, is really backwards.
For more than three decades the predominantly Aleut fishing community of King Cove has been fighting to build a one-lane, [11mile], gravel track connecting the Cove to the nearby hamlet of Cold Bay. What they have gotten is 30 years of flat-out federal refusals or stall tactics.
Cove residents say a road is necessary so they can reach an all-weather airport in Cold Bay that will transport them to Anchorage, about 625 miles away, for medical treatment. They say that in emergency situations, it’s a matter of life and death.
Late last year, though, the Department of Interior announced it was rejecting plans for a proposed land swap that would allow the road to be built. The Dec. 23 decision cited the negative environmental impact on grizzly bears, caribou and water fowl like the Pacific black brant.
During an August visit to Alaska,[Sally] Jewell [Interior Secretary] was told that building a road that connects King Cove and Cold Bay was vital. But in December, Jewell rejected the road saying it would jeopardize waterfowl in the refuge.
“She stood up in the gymnasium and told those kids, ‘I’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals,” Democratic state Rep. Bob Herron told a local television station. “You could have heard a pin drop in that gymnasium.”
– Fox News
Now I have to say first that if a bunch of birds and bears can’t deal with an 11 mile track of gravel in their habitat, they clearly aren’t fit to survive in a world that requires adaptation. Don’t hate me for saying it, hate Darwin for coining the phrase “survival of the fittest”. If they can’t survive this…tough. They can become a part of the other 99.9% of species on this planet that have failed the ‘adapt or die’ final exam.
Second of all, who makes decisions about saving human lives based on listening “to the animals”, really?
Sally Jewell even sounds like the name of a Disney Princess, unfortunately for her we don’t live in a world where fairy godmother’s can heal all our illnesses and bad weather is only there to indicate when a villain is setting up their next curse.
Alaska is a dangerous place, especially for places like King Cove where they are cut off from the rest of Alaska quite effectively for around 100 days a year due to harsh weather. Their own small airport can’t fly out in bad weather and access to the Cold Bay airport (which can fly out in harsh weather) to get to Anchorage could be the difference between life or death for anyone seriously injured or ill, especially considering I can only find evidence of a single medical clinic in King Cove. That’s likely enough for a village with a population of 944 when it comes to the average illness or injury, but I sincerely doubt that the King Cove Community Health Center is really equipped to deal with more extreme medical emergencies.
I suggest Sally Jewell take up residence in King Cove and see how she likes being cut of from the rest of the world during inclement weather, not know what would become of her if she was seriously injured or become seriously ill.
The real point of this, of course, is that’s it’s ludicrous to think that a single lane gravel road is going to destroy the habitat of creatures in the Izambek National Wildlife Refuge, which a writer for the Juneau Empire pointed out last month.
The animals will adapt, none of them are going to go extinct because of one 40 foot wide road, but even if they were, why are they more important than the human lives that are at stake? Because that’s truly what our Interior Department’s resident Snow White is saying: “Who cares if some fisherman die, the Pacific Black Brant is WAY more important.”
On a final note, if we have to have a Princess type in charge of the Interior, can it at least be this one?
At least she’s practical.