The 26th Alaska State Legislature, 2009 - 2010||
Sponsor Statement: House Bill 210
Izembek State Game Refuge Land Exchange
|Signed Into Law! Chapter 119 SLA 10|
Sponsored by Rep. Bryce Edgmon
Co-Sponsors: Rep. Johnson, Rep. Olson, Rep. Wilson, Rep. Neuman, Rep. Austerman, Sen. Therriault, Sen. Hoffman, Sen. Wagoner, Sen. Dyson, Sen. Menard, Rep. Olson, Sen. Kookesh
“Designating Kinzarof Lagoon as part of the Izembek State Game Refuge; authorizing a land exchange with the federal government in which state land adjacent to the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge and within the Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge is exchanged for federal land to serve as a road corridor through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge and federal land located on Sitkinak Island; and providing for an effective date.”
Posted: April 6, 2009 : v26-LS0788\A
Bill Version: SCS CSHB 210(RES)
Status: Chapter 119 SLA 10 : 2010-08-19
On March 30th President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009. This act includes Congressional approval for a land exchange between the State of Alaska and the federal government to allow a single-lane, unpaved road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, connecting the village of King Cove to the Cold Bay airport.
HB 210 will grant state authorization for that exchange.
However, it is important to note that at the federal level there are still two major processes that need to be completed before this transaction is final. These are the completion of an environmental impact statement and a finding by the Secretary of the Interior determining that the land exchange is in the public interest.
HB 210 therefore does more than execute at state level the transaction endorsed by Congress; it also provides compelling evidence to the Secretary of the Interior that the State of Alaska approves of this agreement to establish dependable access for King Cove residents to the Cold Bay airport primarily for health and safety purposes.
In the agreement, the State will transfer approximately 43,000 acres of land in the Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge to the federal government in exchange for approximately 206 acres for the road corridor. The legislation also agrees to the receipt of 1600 acres of federal land located on Sitkinak Island to the State and provides for the designation of Kinzarof Lagoon as part of the Izembek State Game Refuge.
The residents of King Cove and Aleutians East Borough have strived toward this goal for more than a decade. The King Cove Corporation has agreed to provide approximately 19,000 acres of its ANCSA land to the federal government, at no cost, as part of this exchange. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources supports the transaction. Senator Murkowski, Congressman Young, and former Senator Stevens have championed this endeavor at the federal level over many years. Senator Begich also backs the plan.
It is now the State of Alaska's role to take this next important step. I respectfully ask for your support in concluding this agreement while also sending an important message to the Secretary of the Interior that Alaska endorses this exchange and all that it entails for the improved safety and quality of life for citizens in Southwestern Alaska.