September 19, 2008

Alaska’s Road to Nowhere

First there was Alaska's Bridge to Nowhere, a pork-barrel project that eventually succumbed to public derision. Now comes the Izembek road - the Road to Nowhere - another boondoggle and a surefire environmental disaster. American taxpayers should not spend a dime on this project and Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, should make sure that they don't have to.

The road would connect the remote fishing hamlet of King Cove on the Alaskan peninsula to an airport 25 miles away in the village of Cold Bay. By all accounts, the hovercraft service on which King Cove's 800 or so residents rely to reach Cold Bay has met every evacuation need since it began last year.

The problem is that the road would slice through the federally protected Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, imperiling rich concentrations of bird and animal life.

The project has the enthusiastic backing of Governor Sarah Palin, John McCain's running mate . As part of the horse trading that goes on near the end of a congressional session, the proposal has been approved by committees in both the Senate and the House and could end up as part of a package of several hundred small public land bills. Reid should act to deny Alaska a piece of pork that it does not need.

Originally published by The New York Times Media Group.

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