FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2023
Contact: Aileo Weinmann | email@example.com
Alaska Wilderness League Welcomes Action to Protect Izembek National Wildlife Refuge
“Alaska’s public lands and waters can provide for current and future generations only if they are protected from irreversible harm”
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Wilderness League welcomes Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s announcement today withdrawing a land exchange between the Interior Department and King Cove Corporation authorized by former Secretary Bernhardt in July 2019. That 2019 land exchange contained several procedural flaws and was not consistent with Departmental policy, according to Haaland. Lacking public participation, the previous land exchange also failed to analyze potential effects on subsistence uses and habitat.
Statement by Andy Moderow, Senior Director of Policy, Alaska Wilderness League:
“We are grateful that Secretary Haaland took action today to protect the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge against an improper, Trump-era land exchange,” said Andy Moderow, senior director of policy for Alaska Wilderness League. “Alaska’s public lands and waters can provide for current and future generations only if they are protected from irreversible harm. Today’s action by Secretary Haaland is a necessary step toward restoring long-term thinking to protecting Izembek’s unique resources, for biodiversity and sustainable uses alike.”
The Izembek National Wildlife Refuge lies along the Alaska Peninsula and is one of America’s most ecologically significant Refuges, home to world-class wetlands that support millions of migrating birds, fish, and caribou. For decades, DOI denied proposals for a land exchange to facilitate a road through a federally designated Wilderness within the Refuge due to the irreversible harm that such a road would cause. Under the Obama administration, a three-year study found this road to be unnecessary, not in the public’s best interest, and harmful to Izembek’s lands and waters. The result of this study rightfully protected Izembek for conservation and subsistence uses alike, as Congress intended in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.