“The Road to Nowhere”
Izembek National Wildlife Refuge is located on a remote and sparsely populated stretch of Bering Sea coastline in Alaska. This world-class habitat is not only a vital stopover point for migratory birds–including endangered Steller’s eiders and 98 percent of the Pacific brant goose population–but it also shelters animals such as brown bears, fox and caribou.
In 2009, Congress authorized construction of a multimillion-dollar road through the center of this refuge. Not only is the road unnecessary, it is harmful: It would cut through a federally designated wilderness in the heart of the refuge and destroy this fragile ecosystem.
The Refuge Association’s report “The Road to Nowhere (2009)” spotlights the fiscal waste and environmental harm the road would cause. Armed with new information, the Refuge Association and the Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges have released an updated report that urges Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to reject this construction boondoggle.
Bolstering the report’s re-release, former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt and several other former Clinton administration officials joined the fight against the proposed road. They sent a letter to Secretary Salazar highlighting the irreplaceable ecological value of the refuge and urged him to find the proposed road “not in the public interest.”
The Refuge Association, the Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges and our conservation partners have met with officials at the Department of the Interior and are working diligently to ensure the road is not approved.
“What’s the real reason behind the road? Economic development, plain and simple. Read our “Red Herring Highway” fact sheet to learn more.Read more...
Read the letter from the Refuge Association and 16 conservation organizations to Secretary Salazar urging him to reject the “Road To Nowhere” and our Statement of Position on final passage of “Road To Nowhere” provision.
Up-to-date information from FWS on Izembek can be found at http://izembek.fws.gov/EIS.htm
The Refuge Association submitted scoping comments March 11, 2010:
Background on The Road to Nowhere
This Road to Nowhere is a problem Congress has already solved; further debate is a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. In 1998, residents of King Cove, a town near the refuge, argued they lacked adequate access to medical and airport facilities. In response, Congress allocated $37.5 million for medical and airport improvements and a 98-foot hovercraft that has successfully provided rapid medical evacuations from the town.
The proposed road would not only impose unnecessary costs on American taxpayers, but it would have devastating impacts on the region’s wildlife. The habitat fragmentation, disturbance and pollution resulting from road construction would cause irreparable harm to hundreds of thousands of Pacific black brant, emperor geese, swans and other migratory birds that rely on this refuge, as well as the caribou, bears, fox and other animals that live there.
In addition, the road would set a dangerous precedent for violating the rules of Congressionally designated wilderness areas. By definition, humans are supposed to leave no mark in these areas. If a road is built here, it could open the door for other pristine and irreplaceable wilderness areas to be destroyed across the country.
Izembek in the NewsRead more...
- 9/8/15: Press Release: Federal Judge Rules to Protect Izembek Wilderness
- 3/16/12: Izembek “Road to Nowhere” Back in Spotlight: New Draft Environmental Review Confirms Proposed Road is a Bad Idea
- 6/16/09 Governor Sarah Palin’s Letter to Secretary Ken Salazar requesting commencement of Izembek road project
- 4/2/09 New York Times Article: Enviro groups press Salazar to kill Alaska road project
- 3/20/09 Washington Post Article: Road Through Alaskan Refuge Wins Senate Backing
- 1/14/09 AP Article: Critics decry land bill’s Alaska `Road to Nowhere’
- 12/8/08 Senator Feingold’s Dear Colleague Letter
- 11 /26/08: New York Times Letter to the Editor by NWRA President, Evan Hirsche
- 11 /9/08 Washington Post Article: Proposed Road in Refuge Raises Fears About Drilling
- 9/18/08 New York Times Editorial: First a Bridge, Now a Road
- 9/15/08 Press Release: Gov. Sarah Palin Supports a New “Road To Nowhere;” Senate Committee Approves Treacherous Road Cutting Through Protected Alaska Wilderness
- 9/11/08 AP Article: Palin-backed wilderness road passes Senate panel
- 4/26/08 New York Times Editorial: Mr. Young Wants Another Road
- 4/24/08 Press Release:House Committee Abandons Common Sense in Favor of the “Road To Nowhere”
- 4/14/08 Updated Fact Sheet: Fact Sheet Regarding the Proposed Road Through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge
- 7/23/07 Press Release: Alaska Senator, Congressman Introduce Bills to Build “Road to Nowhere” in Biological Heart of Wilderness Area
- 7/15/07 Comprehensive Report from NWRA and Friends of Alaska NWR’s: The Road to Nowhere
How can you take action to save Izembek NWR today?
You can join our Action Team and receive alerts on steps you can take to protect the refuge system and the wildlife living within it. Through the Action Network you can learn about the latest measures in Congress and send messages directly to your representative or senator. Please join today and help us stand up for the refuges!
You can also make a contribution to the National Wildlife Refuge Association to help our team in its intensive efforts to save Izembek and other landscapes and wildlife across the country. Please consider making a donation today.