Judge rejects deal for road through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

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A federal judge on Friday morning vacated a land swap deal between the Interior Department and an Alaska Native corporation that set the stage for building a long-sought road between Alaska Peninsula communities of King Cove and Cold Bay.

U.S. District Court of Alaska Judge Sharon Gleason ordered the January 2018 land exchange agreement signed by former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and King Cove Corp. leaders invalidated because Zinke failed to explain the reasoning behind the department’s policy reversal, according to Gleason’s 31-page ruling.

The land exchange was meant to facilitate construction of an 11-mile gravel road through a portion of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge currently designated as wilderness.

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