Monday, October 2, 2023
HomeThe 907Can Sec. Haaland double-cross King Cove? State asks 9th Circuit to dismiss

Can Sec. Haaland double-cross King Cove? State asks 9th Circuit to dismiss

On Wednesday, the State of Alaska opposed the Department of the Interior’s motion to dismiss an appeal before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that proposes a life-saving road between King Cove and the State’s all-weather airport at Cold Bay.

Interior’s motion is based on Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s March 14 decision to withdraw from the binding land exchange agreement between Interior and the King Cove Corporation that was approved in 2019. Haaland’s decision was presented as a final and unreviewable termination of the agreement.

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Gov. Mike Dunleavy of Alaska said, “Secretary Haaland’s decision to halt the land swap means King Cove residents will remain at the mercy of the weather if they need lifesaving medical treatment.” He said the residents of King Cove deserve access to medical care just as much as any other American.

The remote village of King Cove, located on the Alaska Peninsula, has a population of 850 and has argued for a road across the refuge to reach an airport in Cold Bay for medical emergencies.

Opponents argue that a road will harm the refuge. King Cove Corp., a long-term partner with the State in developing a safe and reliable connection across the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, filed a motion for preliminary injunction with the 9th Circuit to prohibit Interior from taking any actions to implement Secretary Haaland’s March 14, 2023 decision.

King Cove Corp. is a village corporation under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and it intends to enforce the binding KCC-DOI agreement to finalize the land exchange. The village corporations motion for injunction asks the 9th Circuit to enjoin Interior from taking any actions under Sec. Haaland’s recent decision until after the 9th Circuit issues its decision on the pending appeal.

The State’s opposition to Haaland’s motion to dismiss requests that the 9th Circuit denies her the request and issues its decision on the pending appeal, and then remands to the district court all issues relating to Haaland’s recent decision to withdraw from the land exchange. Before Haaland threw a wrench in it, the land exchange with KCC was nearly completed, with the litigation being the only cause of delay. The only remaining task before the exchange of deeds is for Interior to complete environmental surveys of the exchange lands, which had to wait until the completion of litigation.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Just go build the road. Put a D-9 and a grader on each end of the road and start pushing.

    Think about it, it’s a “protected park” so they can’t drop nasty munitions on the equipment from F-35’s. The road will be done before the government loonies can get their tin foil hats on, to decide what to do about it.

    Remember Mary Sattler Kapsner Nelson Peltola backed this Secretary of the Interior to the hilt. BIRDS OF A FEATHER.

  2. I was always curious about what ‘they’ can do if we just pushed a road through. Like Willy says, a couple of cats and some supporting equipment and that road would be in. What could the feds do at that point? Taking the road back out would dig up more dirt than putting it in.

  3. The feds still owe Alaska land so just take it and call it ours. The feds should not own any date property in any state. They should be required to rent from the states.

  4. I agree with this. We can’t trust the 850 people who live in King Cove to take care of their area. Mostly Native I bet. If you look at Google Maps, King Cove Road from King Cove and Swan Lake Spur from Cold Bay are already there and they almost connect now. I bet if you traveled these roads, what damage is done? How much use would the locals actually travel? Better to keep the natives in their own towns.

    It is better to spend all that money on a Hovercraft that never worked. I think that if they built the road, everyone from Alaska and the lower 48 would book tickets and overrun the area. The Democrats are just protecting that area from the trove of tourists that would then flock to the area. I know Alaska runs $99 one way tickets there quite often.

      • Well he has a point. They don’t care for us either. If they want a road how about they build it. And maintain it. I thought they were decolonizing though so why a need for a road anyway?

  5. Haaland doesn’t care about anyone not in her tribe.

    The biggest con of the modern era is Democrats give a damn and the poor and minorities. They don’t.

  6. What does Deb Haaland Lisa Murkowski and Mary Peltola all have in common? The natives all love them and vote for them and all get the shaft from them. I wonder if they even know who is sticking it to em? When the election is over I dont think they care what they do as long as their people won the election. Job performance just isnt important as who is sitting on the throne.

  7. GOP ( Grifters , Opportunists and pimps ) . DC crowd is taking our lands and never have fulfilled statehood pact when it comes to our ( the peoples ) resources

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