The verdict was filed in a lawsuit filed by Friends of Alaska's National Wildlife Refuges and other conservation organizations against the US Department of the Interior and its Deputy Secretary (who was Ryan Zinke at the time, which has now been replaced) by David Bernhardt), the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the King Cove Corporation.
Previous administrative guidelines repeatedly rejected the idea of a road. They claimed that there were options and that the construction of the wildlife would be detrimental to the shelter. Following the presidential campaign in 2016, Zinke entered into a barter agreement with King Cove Corporation – a land exchange – that would provide the community with the desired path. The decision dismissed earlier findings and was almost a complete reversal of policy that has been maintained by other administrations.
This exchange agreement, Gleason said, "constituted an illegal activity of the agency that violated the Administrative Procedure Act" by changing the department's policies in the matter without adequate justification.
A road that crosses a habitat
The road that is central to the process would connect the cities of King Cove and Cold Bay, which are 18 miles apart. Between the two, however, must be the air or the sea. Since the region is often affected by bad weather, the inhabitants of King Cove have long been committed to ensuring that Cold Bay Airport is "safe, reliable" throughout the year, according to the lawsuit.
Other administrations warned that Izembek would be "irretrievably damaged" in a road construction and suggested that "there are viable alternatives to a road that protects the health and safety of the residents of King Cove." In fact, critics have pointed out that millions of dollars have already been put into alternative means of transport.
"A road through this critical area would kill the refuge, the wilderness, and the intent that was set aside when it was protected by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1960," former US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell told CNN