ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Federal officials are exploring a land exchange that could lead to construction of a road through an Alaska wildlife refuge.

Officials in King Cove on the Alaska Peninsula say they will sign an agreement with the Interior Department to identify corporation lands that could be swapped for lands of equal value and lead to construction of a road through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge encompasses internationally recognized habitat for migrating waterfowl in southwest Alaska.

The road would connect the communities of King Cove and Cold Bay, which has an all-weather airport needed for emergency medical flights.

Environmental groups say a road through the refuge would harm the watershed and ocean lagoons used by hundreds of thousands of migratory birds.

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