The Izembek Nationwide Wildlife Refuge wants your voice! The Division of the Inside is presently within the technique of as soon as once more probably permitting a highway to be constructed by way of the center of this internationally-renowned wilderness. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is accepting public feedback from people and organizations on this course of no later than June 20, 2023.
Earlier this 12 months, Secretary Haaland rescinded a 2019 proposed land change that may have allowed a highway to be constructed within the Izembek NWR as a result of the method that approved the change was flawed and never in step with Departmental coverage. The proposed highway would join the village of King Cove with an all-weather airstrip in Chilly Bay with the intent to offer an choice for emergency medical evacuations for King Cove residents. Now, the Division has renewed the method to assessment proposals for a land change that may enable a highway, utilizing the identical illegal pretense because the earlier administration.
The legislation that established the Izembek NWR and over 100 million acres of conservation lands in Alaska, the Alaska Nationwide Curiosity Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), permits for land exchanges provided that the aim is to learn the conservation or subsistence values of the world. ANILCA doesn’t enable for land exchanges to construct roads, and it doesn’t present the authority to the Secretary to authorize a land change for this goal. On this renewed effort to authorize a highway, the Biden Administration perpetuates the suggestion that the Secretary of the Inside has the authority to commerce away congressionally designated wilderness to personal events to permit roads or different growth initiatives. Such authority would implicate all of Alaska’s conservation lands, setting a precedent that different wilderness areas will be subjected to comparable trades to permit growth initiatives.
Earlier proposals to assemble a highway by way of the ecological coronary heart of this distinctive nationwide wildlife refuge have to date been unsuccessful as a result of vital and irreversible harm it could make to one of many world’s most important wetlands and waterfowl habitats. This highway would have devastating impacts on greater than half one million Pacific brant, emperor geese, swans, and different wildlife, leading to habitat fragmentation, disturbance, and air pollution. These impacts on wildlife would additionally inevitably influence subsistence searching and harvesting for Indigenous communities that depend on these sources.
These critically essential wetlands have to be protected for future generations. Izembek NWR is considered one of America’s most ecologically vital nationwide wildlife refuges and have to be safeguarded from these continued threats. Please be part of us in urging the USFWS and Secretary Haaland to decide on a non-road various quite than execute a land change for a highway by way of the Izembek Nationwide Wildlife Refuge.
Public feedback are due June twentieth, 2023. If you need to submit a customized remark, you possibly can submit it right here.
Thanks to your continued help in defending our planet’s treasured wildlife and the Nationwide Wildlife Refuge System.