Jimmy Carter fights to block construction of Alaskan road

Former President Jimmy Carter left office over four decades ago with an approval rating in the low 30s. Yet as a recent story illustrated, he hasn’t given up on doing unpopular things.

Last month, Carter began fighting to stop an isolated Alaskan village from building a gravel road despite residents saying it would help them get emergency medical care. 

Carter says building a road would be “deeply mistaken” and “dangerous”

According to The New York Times, “a rare legal filing by a former president” came in support of an appeal by conservation groups.

At issue is a proposed road that would run from the isolated community of Kings Cove to an airport by cutting through a federal wildlife refuge.

Construction was previously approved under the Trump administration and that decision was later upheld by a federal appeals court.

However, opponents complain the road is intended to serve as a conduit for fish and employees who work at the caning facility where King’s Cove is home to.

They are seeking to have a larger panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rehear the case, a move Carter backs. He alleged in his filing that allowing the road to go forward “is not only deeply mistaken, it’s dangerous.”

Residents unable to evacuate ahead of bad storms

Bridget Psarianos is a lawyer at Trustees for Alaska, an environmental law firm which represents several conservation groups, and she agrees with Carter’s assessment.

The Times quoted her as complaining that “letting the secretary just kind of redraw the boundaries of our national parks, refuges and wilderness areas for economic purposes.”

Former Kings Cove Mayor Henry Mack disagrees, saying, “We were not able to get our loved ones out of there in bad storms, which are pretty frequent.”

The Times noted that previous attempts to correct the problem have included “spending millions of federal dollars to buy a fast hovercraft, and a road was built to a landing site near the refuge.”

However, it added that the vehicle “handled about two dozen evacuations for several years before being abandoned in 2010 as too costly and incapable of operating in high seas or winds.”

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