Alaska, unlike the lower 48, is a state without surface transportation infrastructure, excepting a limited road and rail infrastructure within south central Alaska. There are few roads linking Alaska's western, southern and northern villages.
Many of Alaska's outlying villages comprise the United State's third world. No sewer, water, or roads. The village of Hoonah in southeastern Alaska managed to get its first generator for electric power (50KW unit) back in the late 1970s.
One of the most egregious and outrageous situations for many years has been the plight of the villagers of Kings Cove on the Alaska Penninsula. King Cove suffers from such lousy weather that the USCG will not fly their aircraft into King Cove. The nearest IFR airport is at Cold Bay, some 20 miles away.
Gee, that's not far. . . .
Except, that 20 miles is through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, a refuge that did not exist at the time of Alaska's becoming a State in the Union of States.
There is an ATV trail that links the two communities that is illegal to use, because of the INWR.
This no trespass of Uncle Sam's wildlife refuge meant that any villager in King Cove who has a medical emergency was in very dire straits.
For many years, Senator Ted Stevens tried to get a road built. In 1996, the feds invested in a $30 MILLION dollar clinic in Kings Cove to avoid upgrading the existing trail across the edge of the INWR. In 1998, to give the villagers better access, Congress authorized an appropriation for a hovercraft.
The bottom line is that 10s of millions of dollars have been spent to avoid bringing up an existing trail to a pioneer gravel road standard, such as is common throughout the Midwest. This money has been spent to circumvent the logical, rational, and necessary solution, which, all along, was the road.
What was the cost to the State of Alaska for the Senate of the United States accepting the road?
The sovereign State of Alaska had to bribe the Congress of the United States with land.
The Congress of the United States is so sensitive to the environmental lobby, that Congress seeks the satisfaction of those greedy, self-centered, arrogant twits over the needs of someone fighting for their life whose salvation is a few miles away through the INWR.
What is the impact of the road in terms of the number of acres actually impacted in the INWR? About 200 acres.
The necessity of this land swap was an egregious affront to the sovereignty of the State of Alaska.
Why is there no outcry from our Legislature, our Governor, or our Congressional delegation?
Cowardice, and the fact that most of these folks have grown up with placating the feds and their elitist environmental lobby.
Alaska's Statehood Compact was a compromise with Congress made with the recognition by Congress in the late 50's that the federal government did not have enough money in the treasury to provide Alaska with roads, airports, and harbours to the standards enjoyed by the rest of the states in the union. In lieu of the government spending money that it did not have, the Congress, in its infinite wisdom, gave the State of Alaska 90% of any non-renewable resource development in the state on both State and Federal lands. Since 1959, the federal government has continually reneged on this promise.
One of the implied promises was that the federal government would not impose stricter land classifications, nor classify additional lands more restrictively as to use. Then came ANILCA under Carter.
The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act was one of the most egregious acts against the intent in the Statehood Compact.
The land swap shows that Alaska is a State in name only. That Alaska must buy its citizens' needs from the environmental lobby.
Welcome to the colonies!