Biden White House saves Jimmy Carter administration’s Alaska refuge

Biden’s strong ties to Carter became even more evident this week, even after Biden’s announcement he’s been asked to deliver Carter’s eulogy.
Secretary of Interior withdraws King Cove land exchange, causing stir from Alaska officials
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 11:26 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - President Joe Biden’s strong ties to Jimmy Carter became even more evident this week, even after Biden’s announcement he’s been asked to deliver Carter’s eulogy.

On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland withdrew a land exchange between her department and King Cove Corp. to exchange land in Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge was created by Carter’s Alaska National Interest Conservation Act (ANILCA) of 1980, which conserved more than 100 million acres of federal land in the state.

Haaland and her department determined the exchange, which was initiated under the Trump administration, contained procedural flaws and wasn’t consistent with department policy.

The proposal would have transferred about 200 acres within the refuge to the state of Alaska for a single-lane gravel road between the communities of King Cove and Cold Bay.

In exchange, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would have received about 43,000 acres of land owned by Alaska, as well as about 13,300 acres of land owned by King Cove Corporation. In addition, the corporation would have relinquished 5,430 acres of selected lands within the Izembek Refuge and Izembek Wilderness boundary.

“The debate around approving the construction of a road to connect the people of King Cove to life-saving resources has created a false choice, seeded over many years, between valuing conservation and wildlife or upholding our commitments to Indigenous communities,” Haaland said. “I reject that binary choice. I am a lifelong conservationist, and I believe deeply in the need to protect our lands and waters and honor our obligations to tribal nations.”

Carter, the nation’s 39th president and the only president to hail from the state of Georgia, entered hospice care last month. He is also the nation’s longest living ex-president in history.

Biden was first elected to the U.S. Senate from Delaware in 1972, and was serving his first term when Carter was elected president in 1976. Carter was still serving his one term as Georgia governor when Biden was elected to the Senate. He previously served as a Georgia state senator from 1963 to 1967 and governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975.


Exactly three years to the date of his inauguration into the governor’s mansion, Carter announced his candidacy for president of the United States. He would go onto win the Democratic nomination in 1976 and was elected on November 2, narrowly defeating incumbent Republican Gerald Ford. Biden was the first Democratic U.S. senator to endorse Carter in 1976.

Biden, 80, and first lady Jill Biden visited Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, who is now 95, at their home a few months after Biden took office in 2021.