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Wed Mar 15, 2023, 10:51 PM

U.S. withdraws Trump-era land deal in Alaska wildlife refuge


(Reuters) - The Biden administration said on Tuesday it rescinded a land swap deal struck by former President Donald Trump's interior secretary that would have allowed a new road to cut through an Alaska wildlife refuge.

The decision comes as President Joe Biden's administration faces heavy criticism from environmental groups for its approval earlier this week of a massive oil and gas development in Alaska's Arctic.

In a statement, the Interior Department said Secretary Deb Haaland withdrew the 2019 land exchange deal between the agency and the Alaska native King Cove Corporation, but would be open to examining other proposals to replace it.

Supporters of the land swap in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Alaska have argued that a road is crucial to giving residents of King Cove, an Aleut village of about 1,000 people, access to an airstrip at the village of Cold Bay in case of medical or other emergencies.

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