Former failed President Jimmy Carter has inserted himself into the ongoing battle over the proposed King Cove Road, siding with radical environmentalists who oppose building the link between the Aleutians and life-saving emergency medical treatment. The re-emergence of a former president who left office 41 years ago also highlighted Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s complicity in federal meddling with Alaska’s own affairs.
Carter, a former peanut farmer, has filed a legal brief asking a larger panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to revisit a smaller panel’s ruling that cleared the way for the King Cove Road to proceed. The road would connect King Cove to the all-weather airport in Cold Bay, which is crucial to saving lives because it would give residents access to emergency medical services unreachable by land transportation. Under former President Donald Trump, the Interior Department negotiated a land swap to create a corridor through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge that would make the road possible.
A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld the land deal, which is the ruling Carter is asking a larger panel to rehear.
“Jimmy Carter should stick to peanuts and stay away from Alaska’s King Cove Road,” said Alaska Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka. “Since Joe Biden has dethroned Carter as the worst president in modern times, it’s understandable that Carter would want to get back in the news somehow. But depriving Alaskans of access to life-saving medical attention is not the way to do it.”
As usual, Murkowski plays a role in this saga that threatens to harm Alaska citizens.
Murkowski enthusiastically voted to confirm U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason in 2011, calling her a “superb judge” who was polite to people in her courtroom. Gleason, who killed the multi-billion-dollar Willow oil and gas project, was also the federal judge who initially blocked the King Cove Road land deal that’s at the center of the case in the Ninth Circuit.
“If there’s something happening in the federal government that’s bad for Alaska, it’s a safe bet that Lisa Murkowski is right in the middle of it,” Tshibaka said. “Throwing Jimmy Carter into the mix is an added wrinkle that no one saw coming. But it’s sadly fitting: A failed president and a failure of a senator make a perfectly matched pair that equals disaster for Alaska.”