Two days after Deb Haaland double-crossed the people of King Cove, Alaska’s Rep. Peltola tiptoes around issue

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On Tuesday, Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland announced she took back land that her department had traded with the King Cove community — land that was needed for an 18-mile, one-lane gravel road to the Cold Bay airport, where people of the village could be evacuated if injured or sick.

Immediately, Alaska’s Sen. Dan Sullivan issued a statement: T”his decision is the latest act in Secretary Haaland’s disingenuous playbook: Tell Alaskans, particularly Alaska Native people, that you support something, like Native veteran allotments or the King Cove Road, then purposefully delay it for years so it can never actually happen.”

Gov. Mike Dunleavy also quickly responded to the take-back: “While Secretary Haaland claims that she wants to consider alternative land exchanges, that will push the entire process back to square one and place the lives of King Cove residents at risk today,” Dunleavy said. “The fact is her decision to halt the land swap increases the likelihood that a resident in King Cove won’t be able to receive life-saving medical treatment in time due to bad weather at the villages airstrip. The 11-mile road from King Cove to Cold Bay would connect residents in King Cove to an all-weather airport in Cold Bay and would save lives. It makes zero sense that Secretary Haaland would want to deprive Alaskans of the life-saving services the road would provide access to.”

The following day, Sen. Lisa Murkowski issued a statement: “For years, the people of King Cove have heard false promises that brought them empty hope for a life-saving road. That’s why this announcement – that the Department of the Interior will withdraw from the 2020 land exchange agreement to facilitate that road – is so disappointing. My message is no more false promises. No further delay. I will be watching and doing everything I can to hold the Secretary to her word. And I know Della Trumble, Etta Kuzakin, and her daughter, Sunny Rae—who is now a beautiful 10-year-old, thanks to an emergency Coast Guard medevac—will be right there with me, along with all who live in King Cove.”

But three days later, Rep. Mary Peltola has only given a statement to reporters who asked for it. She appears uncomfortable criticizing Halaland for her double-cross and has tried to fly under the media radar and put a positive spin on Haaland’s theft of land that belongs, by agreement, to King Cove Corp.:

“It is unclear to me why the (Interior) Department decided that the existing proposal, which they had previously defended in court, is now seen as deficient,” Peltola said to a reporter in a statement not posted anywhere on her social media feed or at her congressional website. “However, I am glad that the Secretary has stated her support to the people of King Cove for a road and other land exchange proposals, and I encourage the Department to rapidly begin their process for doing so, in order to minimize the effects of this disruption. The people of King Cove have waited too long for the basic right of access to life-saving medical evacuation, and they cannot afford more unnecessary delays.”

The land exchange was negotiated because the federal government didn’t want a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. As far back as Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in the Obama Administration, the animals were prioritized by administrations over the health of the majority native population of King Cove.

 In 2014, Jewell told the people of King Cove, Alaska, that she cared more about animals than she cared about the human health and that was why she was refusing their request for the land swap. The land needed for a road is less than 1 percent of the Izembek 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,” said former Democrat state Rep. Bob Herron, describing the meeting to a reporter in 2014. “You could have heard a pin drop in that gymnasium.”

Under President Donald Trump, Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt made a different choice in 2019, and allowed the land swap to take place.

But Haaland and the Biden Administration have taken back the land, which represents less than 1 percent of the Izembek refuge. Haaland said she wants to go through the review process for the deal that was made four years ago.

Her review of the sealed exchanged is, Haaland said, “rooted in a commitment to engagement in meaningful nation-to-nation consultation with Tribes, to protecting the national wildlife refuge system, and to upholding the integrity of ANILCA’s subsistence and conservation purposes.”

85 COMMENTS

  1. It has become a road paved with promises and everyone is being jerked around on both sides and no one wins !!!

    • Let’s work to get rid of her at our next voting opportunity. She is completely inept and entirely incompetent.

      According to what she has stated during my numerous attempts to get straight answers to my questions, Peltola is uninterested in hearing about what service-disabled military veterans actually need. As she should know by now but clearly does not, VETERANS DO NOT NEED FOOD STAMPS. We need jobs that offer competitive family-wage salaries/wages, training as required, satisfactory work conditions, and RESPECT.

      • DoneWithIt, who are you calling me a RINO Neo Con? I voted Nick, damn straight I did, and I plugged my ears and held my nose to vote for your crazy incompetent publicity seeking Palin as my second.
        If you are a Palin Devotee, it’s likely that you are unable to do the math so I won’t attempt to point out that 60% NEGATIVE polling for Sarah = loser. That said, you might want to be careful with your name calling, some of us might take exception to it. Unless you wanna take this thing outside? But then that would mean you revealing your name.
        It’s time the Palinbots took ownership for Mary. Bleating MAGA and voting for the vapid screecher got us here. Yeah , deal with the Truth and the Consequences.

        • Truth hurts, huh?
          Begich – from the most liberal family in the history of Alaska.
          Oh, but he shot a gun in his political ads so he must be a conservative?
          What sounds like a RINO, looks like a RINO, is a RINO.
          Begich – 2 time, 3rd place Loser.

          • DoneWithIt, Nick’s name sake was an excellent Congressman, a staunch Pro – Lifer, Pro- Development and Pro jobs kind of guy. Of course you probably are not curious enough to care about facts so you naturally defaulted to your MAGA bleating and supported the Vapid Bimbo that gave us Bill Walker and now Mary. Great job! Sarah = Perpetual loserhood. Own it!

  2. I think these so-called “environmentalists” should get to know the environment better. Dump them in the wilderness and see how they fare w/no road access.

  3. It’s clear that Haaland’s action was a purely political move. It was granted to her as a sop in exchange for administration approval of the Willow project.
    Having said that – I think the quoted response from Peltola’s staff covered the issue as well as could be done.
    Peltola criticizing Haaland is definitely not in the playbook.
    Alaska projects are always under attack by Democrat administrations – something we knew, or should have known, on election day.

  4. “The following day, Sen. Lisa Murkowski issued a statement: ‘For years, the people of King Cove have heard false promises that brought them empty hope for a life-saving road. That’s why this announcement – that the Department of the Interior will withdraw from the 2020 land exchange agreement to facilitate that road – is so disappointing. My message is no more false promises…’ ”

    Sen. Murkowski, may I remind you that *YOU* voted to approve the nomination of Sec. Haaland, even though both the Republican Party (which you claim you belong to, although your actions suggest otherwise) and many of the people of Alaska were opposed to her nomination? Don’t tell me you didn’t see this coming; the rest of us did.

  5. Why on earth do people act surprised when Peltola adds one of her Liberal choices to her list of actions? How many of you voted for Murkowski/Peltola because you were mad at Palin for some reason or another? Going to be another LONG year before we get a chance to replace her.

    • Actually, I rather suspect the issue was that the Democrats knew how to play the “Ranked Choice Voting” game. There were three (R)’s on the ticket for House, but only one (D). The Democrats present a unified voice. Internally, they may have their squabbles, but to the public, they toe the Party line. The Republicans haven’t figured out yet that that loses elections here in Alaska now. You *CAN’T* *AFFORD* to *SPLIT* the *VOTE* in Alaska anymore. We’ll continue to see a steady stream of RINOs and (D)s taking office until the Republican Party learns to stop splitting the vote or we ditch Ranked Choice Voting.

    • Steven, better yet perhaps we should remember a quote from P.J. O’ Rouke,
      ” we have a two party system in the United States, an Evil Party and a Stupid Party, Republicans are the STUPID Party”.
      ( disclosure, I am a Republican)

      Also a quote from U.S. Grant, ” we have but two parties today, Patriots and Traitors”.

  6. I am not sure if Lisa supported Sally Jewells confirmation as well but I would expect her to support Any woman after she supported Christine Blasey Ford who suddenly remembered a supreme court nominee attempted to “rape” her 20 years prior and wasnt important enough to report it to the Police at the time. Sally Jewells statement to the residents in King Cove that animals were more important than the King Cove childrens lives is shocking! It amazes me how Lisa continues to be supported by All native communities after she supports the crazy people that have no consideration for their basic needs. And now we have another grifting “native woman from Bethel with a nice smile” who gets overwhelming support from the villages who says she is glad Haaland has stated her support to the people of King Cove??? Joe Biden And his press secretary are much better at lying. They just tell a lie then exit stage right! (and leave the room full of questions)

    • Peltola will do as she is told. Worthless to Alaska & should return to fishing. With Flip Flop Murkowski & Peltola in D.C. Alaska is screwed.

    • Yep. Lets really make a ‘National’ scene out of this.
      Let the American people see exactly who the left stands for, Native Americans or ducks.
      Cmon Big Mike. Your lame duck now, No reelection ahead.

  7. For anyone that has not figured it out, Peltola is only for advancing her radical cause of sovereignty for the tribes. She has played the race card for her entire career. She learned at an early age her bread was buttered on her Native half, not her Caucasian half.

    Mary can’t say anything bum about another Native woman, like the Secretary of Interior, after she gave the radical, controversial woman a glowing endorsement in the Anchorage Daily News, directly after her confirmation.

    Now maybe the Republicans ought to do a deep dive on just how Mary and Buzzy Peltola got to be where they are today. A little homework before the election would of stalled Mary before the primary.

    • The Republicans were too busy drooling over the return of the Queen and the upstart Begich.

      Not to mention standing open mouthed as Princess made them look like fools.

      Here we are, all these months later, and people are STILL arguing Palin/Begich instead of getting their heads out of their butts and focusing on trying to win the next election.

      This last election was the most grotesque case of political malpractice by the GOP (whom I expect nothing out of) I’ve ever seen.

      But Craig Campbell did defend the removal of the censure of Princess, so there is that.

      Sigh. Play stupid games, elect people like Princess and Mary.

  8. Alaskan people are so bad if they need a road anywhere but Anchorage paid for by the feds who paid for roads every damned where else in the 50 states abd the world except democrat Alaska. That’s only politically federally ok’d by the new world order for Anchorage or maybe FBKs. You know that.

    • Peltola, Haaland, turn and walk away, again. Where’s the ‘inclusive’ thesis for the folks of King Cove? They matter just as much as another in Kipnuk, to me anyway.

  9. Democratic/Liberal Peltola is silent while Secretary Haaland breaks the land trade with the King Cove community.
    This denies the community valuable health care for the people of King Cove.
    Just another Biden payback for Alaska voting Trump

    • When I lived in Gamble, if we got bad sick we had to get on a plane and fly to Nome, and then possibly on to Anchorage. Can you tell me how many people in King cove have lost their life because there wasn’t a road there? I’m just curious. I know the weather gets bad and the jet for life can’t get in at times. Same way all over the state. Just wondering

      • I can’t give you a numerical answer, but do have some insight to the overall issue. Years ago I almost took a job in King Cove and I was walked through it.

        The weather can change literally by the hour in the Aleutians. Local topography can make a bad situation worse.

        It is possible/probable bad weather can close down any reasonable access to many of the islands for days or weeks. The concern is the need to be able to go as quickly as possible when said weather allows.

        The unique topography of the King Cove area makes a bad situation worse. The other side of the island is “saner” (my word).

        Then there is the expense of custom evacs in the bush. Not just for the patient, for the taxpayer. The evac will happen regardless of ability to pay. The cost gets passed to the consumer/taxpayer.

        Further: with an existing airport in a saner area, there is no justification to build a second one.

        A road is the less expensive, least intrusive, most reliable way of solving most of the problems.

        The question is often asked about the expense of supporting bush life. A fair question, but a loaded one depending on who’s asking and why.

        The simple answer which makes nobody happy is: they are fellow citizens and deserve as much support as can reasonably be provided.

        There are roads all over this state most people will never use. But they service a segment of the population who were there when we pressed for statehood. Those populations are part of Alaska and are entitled to the same consideration as those living in Anchorage.

  10. It’s almost like the Interior Department is a entity which literally owns the property and not one which manages land belonging to the people. Government upside down with the people serving the government and not as it was intended. The Interior Department is further each day from its mandate. Time to defund DOI and many other 3 letter agencies.

  11. Somewhere a bull just died from diarrhea.

    Translated: not my tribe, not my fish, not my problem.

  12. Haaland is in her position because she checked the right boxes. Peltola was placed in her position because she too, checked the right boxes. A lot of money was spent on Peltola and she has a debt. She cannot vote or speak with autonomy as she has to do and say as instructed.

    • Lol, no, Peltola won because the 2020 Ballot Measure 2 did away with partisan primaries and Don Young died, bringing Sarah Palin back into Alaska politics and splitting the GOP vote in the general election. Any Democrat probably would have prevailed in the 2022 environment for the House seat.

    • Well, she’s not black, lesbian or transsexual, so those are boxes she failed to check in Biden’s identity hiring criteria. Karine Jean-Pierre comes closest to the ideal Biden hire. Qualifications? Ha! Who cares about that, as long as they have the right immutable identity.

  13. Remember all you bush voters a local native did this for you. Hint she doesn’t care about Alaskans just the fame and fortune. Why do you think these politicians spend some much and try so hard to get elected to a job that half the people hate you and you need security protection. Money and power and look how important Alaska is to our 3 outstanding politicians in Washington.

  14. The fact that the Federal Government keeps using the EPA and Interior Department to rule over the residents of Alaska should be enough for the State Attorney general to sue the Feds for all the land that NEVER got ceded to the state when Alaska elected to be a state. We are still a colony of Seattle, enriching Seattle and getting repeatedly screwed by the Federal government.

      • But the very mention of federal land means that it’s not Alaska’s, it’s the Nations. When was the last time you was able to tell Yellowstone national Park they couldn’t do something?

        • What “nations” are you referring to, Greg? The native tribes?
          Those were not, are not and never have been “nations”, all PC pandering to “indigenous first nations peoples” notwithstanding (looking at you in particular, Canadia).

  15. Dan and Lisa should both shut their mouths about Haaland.
    They both voted to approve her, over the vociferous objections of their constituents.

    Now they lamely try and gain some shred of credibility back by mouthing empty words of protest every time she does exactly what she knew she would do if approved.

    Dan and Lisa, if you read this site….shut your traps and stop embarrassing yourselves. Do not speak unless it’s to apologize to the Alaskan voters for voting to approve this Communist.

  16. It’s just natives. Democrats, even native ones, don’t give a damn about natives. Or blacks. Or girls.

    Maybe if King Cove put on drag shows…

  17. How does one take back something they’ve already traded away? Governor Dunleavy, can’t we just re-take-it-back and start bulldozing a road?

  18. Someone needs to get a big Cat and push a temporary road through immediately. It should take less than 24 hours to “lay the groundwork.”

  19. Mary & Buzzy want to duck hunt in Izembek w/out a ‘nasty’ gravel road running through their wilderness.
    I’m sure a couple of the 200+ firearms at the house are shotguns. Does the clueless left realize how well armed these 2 are?

  20. Send ol Deb out there, let her have a life threatening accident. She’ll realize how important that road is. Easy peasy.

  21. These are the things I want to know about this topic:

    Is this a regulatory authority issue that could be accomplished by any administration WITHOUT congressional votes?

    Not everything rises to a CONGRESSIONAL ACT.

    2. Why does preserving a National Park take priority of human life?

    Please someone – answer me that.

    • The answer to one of your questions is, you have to put the rules about national parks and such in stone. Otherwise every Tom Dick and Harry that got elected would just change the rules to meet their satisfaction.

    • Trudy. It’s NOT a national park, it’s a wildlife refuge. The road would cut through a congressionally designated Wilderness. Only congress can amend the Wilderness Act to allow the road.

  22. My point is, who or what is the actual authority?

    What and who are the barriers to making this happen?

    Where is this issue getting bottlenecked?

    As important or maybe more importantly, are the local people fighting amongst themselves and split in their advocacy efforts???

    • In theory, Congress. But that requires Congress to act instead of allowing the swamp to be its proxy.

  23. That’s the way the dems all treat all Alaskans and their interests. Like garbage. Except the dems care about actual garbage ?. Don’t invest here. Pull up stakes and fInd a state that respects the people. Why vote fOr a dem EVER AGAIN.

  24. I’ll bet Sarah Palin thinks that Peltola is just wonderful. Why does Alaska end up with so many loser women?

    • Not just Alaska. There’s plenty to go around. Look at California with pelosi and Harris and feinstein for a short list. Minnesota has theirs. Look at New York. Hillary hiding in the woods among others. Georgia has theirs with that pork chop eating chick that Oprah Winfrey loves. You can go on and on and on. It’s not just Alaska. But Alaska sure has some good ones so that’s for damn sure.

      • There is something truly wrong with these women though. I think it starts with man haters. You must be a man hater first and foremost. Then any number of underlying mental illnesses can fill in to complete the package.

  25. I’m conflicted:
    On one hand I say F the feds and we should build it anyway. On the other hand I believe that that is one of the trade-offs of living remotely- certain amenities are farther away or hard to reach. Not to mention I do care about the wildlife and ducks in particular as a Ducks Unlimited member and avid waterfowler.

    • That’s the trade-off. Alaska can be a dangerous place to live out in the bush because of its remoteness. You roll the dice getting in a plane just to get there. Then if a storm rolls in and your number comes up, they might just plant you there. That was when I knew it was my time to leave the bush. I still miss it though. Part of me will always be there.

  26. Blah blah blah. No one in King Cove has the courage to just fire up some equipment and start making history? Just waiting for the politicians to do it for you? Maybe they don’t need a road that bad after all, and this is just a political football, nothing more.

  27. I would like to see a preliminary design and cost estimate before applying for any new land exchanges, or permits. Alaskans have a right to know what a road costs to build and operate that very few Alaskans will ever use

    • It’s going to be mega expensive. About 10 years ago while in Manokotak, there was a study done to build a road between them and dillingham. I think it was going to be about 12 miles long depending on which of the four routes was chosen. You could take the shortest route by the beach, or the longest route which was by the mountains and then there’s a couple of inland routes that involved higher Bridges so that fishing boats could get underneath the river. Anyway I think this study cost about $2 million dollars, and the road itself was in the tens of millions of dollars. I’m thinking 40 to 50 million off the top of my head but I could be wrong. Building roads over Marsh and building Bridges isn’t cheap. The way it is now the road would have been a convenience. There’s a frozen road that is a pack down snowgo trail and I even took my Can-Am four wheeler over it when we shipped out. There’s bush plane traffic, and boats that run back and forth. There are alternative methods to get to dillingham and kmo has a really good airport for Life flight. So I doubt a road there anytime soon is not going to happen. I was once on a flight out of dillingham and our plane was grounded
      in Anchorage and they diverted a flight from King cove to dillingham to pick us up. Lisa was on that plane with her bodyguard. She had been down there promising the world for votes. Now 10 years later, it is what it is

  28. Should have been done at the height of Covid as the road may have been needed in a medical emergency. Missed opportunity. Feds would have little to say in response.

  29. She had doubled crossed all Alaskans and LIED. She had promised to follow many of Don Young’s ideas and what he would have voted for..BUT we see she has lied to ALL of us BIG TIME..even to many of her own Native Alaskans who probably voted for her due to her promises to them.

  30. This is a perfect example of just how little this state needs the feds. When feds interfere in the day to day life of the citizens of Alaska, the governor needs to step in and tell them to step off! Contrary to popular belief, the feds are not our overlords unless we allow them to be. Charters and declarations are pieces of paper meant to document agreements between parties, but we see how the feds have kept their end. It’s time for Dunleavey to commission a road construction project to include ground breaking, and tell the feds that the road is being built, while they negotiate some other useless piece of ground the feds can have in trade. The DOI has already agreed to a swap, so she admits there is both a need and viable trade agreement. Only the courts think otherwise, which is not an Alaska Court, but an outside court being used by the Greenies to do their bidding. It’s time we decide what that will be and begin to operate on our time table. What’s the worst can happen, they keep some federal money? We’re already the most federally subsidized state in the union, which really means that we taxpayers already pay for everything the feds send our way.

  31. Alaska would wither without federal dollars. Plus, if no federal government in Alaska, we’d be governed by the likes of Dunleavey and Opie Eastman. No thanks.

      • That’s where you’re wrong there guy. Alaska would still be a State in the Union, and afforded protection by the Nation’s military. It is still key terrain, and would be held at much cost.

    • No, Blaime, your statist Stockholm Syndrome to the contrary, Alaska would prosper without the heavy hand of the illegitimate and tyrannical federal government around our collective necks!
      .
      Government produces NOTHING, and is simply a parasitical organization inherently based on coercion and force. Government cannot supply us anything that it did not first take from us, and/or from others, with a good cut for itself along the way. Stop believing in Santa Claus already!

  32. Near the end of the Alaska Peninsula and the beginning of the Aleutian Islands, Cold Bay sits at a very strategic spot. So much so that the peak of occupation during WW2 at Ft. Russell (Cold Bay) was about 20,000 troops. There are miles and miles of gravel roads that exist today and wind around what was once a large military installation. There were many remnants of the military occupation clearly visible when I first visited Cold Bay in 1975. The argument against the road to connect the all weather airport at Cold Bay to the village of King Cove has to do with the Izembek refuge and migratory waterfowl. It is quite apparent that a huge military presence and miles of road during WW2 had no adverse affect on the migratory waterfowl. A 16 mile gravel road to link King Cove to the airport at Cold Bay is a stupid no brainer. Politics as usual from the Interior Secretary Haaland and mum from the loser Peltola. If I lived in King Cove and had access to a D-7 dozer I think I would be burning some diesel. Thanks to Murkowski for supporting Haaland. Losers both

  33. I looked up a wilderness preserve versus a national park. (Also a reason Google needs to be held accountable for their ranking algorithm vs. being a simple Dewey decimal system)…however, I digress (also one of the laziest segues overused)…

    ‘https://www.doi.gov/blog/americas-public-lands-explained

    There is an enormous gap of information for the ever-present to navigate our own government.

    The three branches of government has banked on the iconic sketch of “who’s on first” by the Three Stooges.

    Which now inspires me to go and revisit everything the Three Stooges created.

    If we the people have the power, why is there not a flowchart, a directory, a button to click by issue to direct a persons voice to the appropriate authorities who have the authority to act?

    The government has a Baldrige Performance Excellence Program that can be found at: ‘nist.gov/baldrige.

    Someone should create a navigatable chain of command to break down the ‘who’s on first’ three stooge effect that has become our branches of government.

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