October 1, 1998
The Administration strongly opposes S. 1092, as amended, and, if presented
to the President, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the
S. 1092 would create an objectionable and unprecedented perpetual right-of-way through portions of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge and Izembek Wilderness for building a public road and maintaining utility-related fixtures between the communities of King Cove and Cold Bay in Alaska. Specifically, S. 1092 would set a precedent by removing lands from wilderness in a land exchange to build a new road. S. 1092 is not compatible with the purposes for which the Refuge was established and would waive important environmental laws. As a result, S. 1092 would disrupt the habitat of many important species, including internationally-unique waterfowl populations and cause irreparable damage to the ecological integrity of this pristine wilderness area. Finally, the bill would undermine the intent of the recently enacted bipartisan "National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997."
The Administration recognizes the need to ensure adequate emergency medical care for the remote community of King Cove. The Administration will continue working with the State of Alaska and other interested parties to explore different transportation alternatives.